“Growing up is losing some illusions, in order to acquire others.”
– Virginia Woolf
What I’m about to say this post may not be the same experience every child has had but I don’t doubt that on some level, you’ve felt the same way. Growing up with an older brother that’s seven years older, I’ve always looked up to his adventures- and I certainly still do. I wished I was old enough to drink, I wished I was old enough to enjoy certain experiences the way my brother and his friends did. We were constrained, as we should’ve been, to doing certain things and sometimes that was really frustrating. In short, I wanted to grow up and gain that freedom I’ve always dreamed of.
Now that I’m older (note I did not say I’m grown up), I’ve acquired that freedom to drink, to choose adventures to go on, and to make my own decisions in every day life. It’s brilliant. Despite having my ID checked on a regular basis from looking like a teenager still, it feels great to be able to sit down with my family and wine taste together. Our first stop in Napa Valley was a $30 tasting at the beautiful Duckhorn Vineyard. The wines were delicious, and the atmosphere indescribable. Surrounded by grape vines, mountains, and tipsy customers all sipping on their reds, I felt very fortunate to be alive.
My brother’s childhood friend and his family also joined us for the wonderful afternoon. They had a son who is nearly three years old. Half Japanese and Half Chinese, he may be one of the most adorable kids I’ve interacted with in recent memory. His activeness and curiosity was easily absorbed by anyone he came into contact with.
Being with children always begs the question, what was I like as a child? Did I have as much curiosity and charm as he did? What was my imagination like? What was it like to see the world through the eyes of a three year old?
As I face the challenges of today personally and learn about the injustice and inequalities of the world, the thought of being a child again seems rather attractive sometimes. I guess that’s why they say ignorance is bliss. Watching Kiyo explore the world around him with such inquisitive eyes is admirable.
With that being said, being three again is not an option, nor do I really want to but being around kids- reminds me of the need to be adventurous, playful, brave and to never lose the curiosity for life and all its experiences. Childhood is simply a moment in the past, but the child-like attitude is always present if you let it.
At the end of the day, I’m in a better position now. I’ve got the freedom to wine taste with my family, I’m learning more about the world and all its complexity every day through a variety of lenses, and with a combination of years of knowledge and child-like curiosity- embark on adventures with an outlook unique to who I am today.