No matter what your childhood was like, I am willing to bet you had a place you escaped to on a regular basis. A swing set that allowed you to fly, a rooftop where you could stand and rule the world, a closet full of teddy bears who accepted you just the way you were. Maybe it was your grandpa’s wood shop or your aunt’s kitchen. For me, it was a bike route in the subdivision across the street.
As a kid, one of the best feelings in the world was racing down the huge hill towards the back of the sub. It was long and wide with very little traffic. The neighborhood kids and I would race together down its slope – loop around and do it again over and over. Now, as an adult, I will occasionally go there to help keep my life in perspective.
I’ve tried to explain to my kids how strange it is to know something from your childhood and then revisit it as an adult. It always seems so much smaller than we remember. I decided to take my sons to the hill to see if they thought it was as big as I did at their age. We loaded up the bikes and drove to the sub. Pedaling towards the hill, I know my experience was different than what they were experiencing. I was noticing the yards and homes, jogging my memory on the families who used to live there and reminiscing on how funny life can be.
My boys, on the other hand, were racing each other and trying to see who could coast the farthest at the bottom. We went around probably five times. I felt so joyful.
My suggestion to you today is to go back to your childhood place. If you can’t physically travel there, go somewhere similar and close your eyes. Think of that place. Try to remember every little detail of the area or activity. Imagine yourself as a child walking to it. Taste the flavor, smell the scent, allow yourself that nostalgia. It will fill a hole in your soul that you may not have even known existed.
“To show a child what once delighted you, to find the child’s delight added to your own—this is happiness.” ~ J.B. Priestley