Embracing the Happiness of Childhood as an Adult

“That was Then” is a love note for the simplicity lost in the journey into adulthood. There used to be a time when insignificant occurrences drew a smile on your face or wet them with tears, but adults master the art of stoic faces and dry eyes in the face of tough challenges. But is that right? After adulting for many years, we forget how to be a child. However, situations, like becoming a parent and seeing someone’s childhood through their offspring, are awakening. They highlight how adults harden with time. At least it did me when I reflect on my three children.

Through my poem, I yearn to be like my children, who can laugh at nonsense, play endlessly and seek pleasure in the little things. I feel that I’m always busy adulting — stressing over the cleanliness of my home, thinking about my performance at work and a myriad of other things.

If you’re like me, you may also long to be as carefree as your children. “That was Then” is for those evenings when it’s hard to let go of the grown-up things and nights when you can’t stop thinking about climbing the corporate ladder. This poem is a reminder of how we used to be and the simple pleasures that used to delight us. It’s a call for us adults to find them again, for that mindset is truly worth living.

[Read Related: Understanding My Mother By Becoming a Mother Myself]

That was then

That was then, chasing kites
Daydreaming, rolling down hills
Like a never-ending rainbow in the sky
And now our heads are bent
Sometimes in regret, sometimes on the phone

That was then, when small things
Brought tears to tiny eyes
Like melting streams of candy
And now an ocean laps inside the heart
But phony eyes a parched desert of stress

That was then, when twinkles shone inside
Of endless roads, un-started journeys
Like dreams weapons of hearts’ land
And now we know the cacti along those roads
Pricks the heart along the ever-shortening stride

That was then, muddy skid marks
Blotchy skin mattered not
Like pizza, pie and ice cream made the world
Not those adults in suit and tie
And now this weight of suit and tie

Then was an epic place to live
Life of cotton candy, old stuffy puffy toys
Where only worry was to play with dirt
Then was an epic place to live
Where happiness lays in squishy blankets

Now balancing checkbooks
Punching numbers into spreadsheets
Playing politics inside a tall glass building
An office desk, a buzzing computer
Oh, that colorful, cartoonish, childhood life

[Read Related: Connecting my Stories With Those of my mom and Grandma]

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By Mars D. Gill

Mars D. Gill is the author of "House of Milk and Cheese" and "Letters from the Queen". She writes mainstream … Read more ›