Remember the last time you felt carefree? Unburdened by your surrounding things. I do. I was reminded of it today actually.
It was a day in the fall at my grandmother’s house. I was helping her rake the leaves in her yard and I had this brilliant idea to make one huge pile. It was just me and my brother and sister with her. My end goal was to jump in the leaves; even though, that would mean us having to rake them back up after all that hard work, but I was perfectly okay with that. I told my grandma and she helped us start the pile. Eventually we had this huge pile and we stopped raking for the time being. My grandma had run into the house to get her camera because there was no way that she would miss this photogenic moment. She never missed a picture, even the ones you didn’t really care for her to take. But in that moment, I ran into the leaves jumping around and throwing them around. My siblings joined me in the fun. You are probably wondering why I took you down memory lane. Well my point for saying all of this is that this is the last time I remember feeling unburdened by the world. I was a child, probably around 6 or 7.
One day I looked into the mirror and questioned everything I had ever known and that was the day that I first felt the weight of the world on my shoulders. I grew up extremely fast. While everyone was still unburdened and happy, I had the pressure weighing down on me. I constantly asked myself when the next tragedy would strike, because my life was full of them. I had already grown up to the notion that life was not all rainbows and unicorns. It was a tragic, endless pit of pain. Sometimes, it was even confusing.
What makes us grow away from the mindset that we have as children though? How does it change so quickly? And why does it have to?
For me, it was my experiences as a child. My childhood was great. However, unlike any other children my age, I was extremely observant and not just in the “I’m going to do what they are doing because it looks right” type of way. I was invested in an adult’s emotions more than actions. When I say my experiences, I mean watching my father struggle to accept my great-grandmother’s death–the person who had raised him. I also mean watching my aunt murmur empty, emotionless words to my great-grandmother’s lifeless body before they closed the casket. Even the constant worry in my mother’s eyes that I caught as she took care of us among other things. Then a few years later, I learned the hard way with my parent’s divorce in which I felt like I needed to protect my siblings from and pushed my emotions aside to listen to theirs.
This, among many other issues after that, changed my stance on the world. As we grow older, more is thrown at us. We are burdened by school/work, constantly forming new friendships and saying goodbye to old ones, and endless possibilities–both of which can be good or bad. There is never a break in between to catch our breaths. We just keep going because that’s what we have learned to do. As children, in general, it’s easier to become blinded by the bad in the world. We have the notion in our heads that the world is what we make it, but it’s not. And growing up we see that clearer and clearer. Then we feel burdened by this weight of what we need to do and what happens in our life.
When I became so burdened by everything in the world, I felt like I had to just deal with it. And you kind of do have to deal with whatever is thrown at you. But I became so consumed in it that I only saw the bad in the world. I felt trapped in all of this weight around me. However, sometimes you just have to put those blinders on, that a child has, to see the good and the carefree and the unburdened. Because that’s all we have sometimes. We have to forget about the burdens. We have to release the weight upon our shoulders, because if not we will be people just going through the motions. People with a routine. People who breathe, but forget to live.
So when I had the opportunity once again to feel less burdened by the world, I hesitated. However, when I saw that the people I was with were going to jump in the pile of leaves, I put my keys down on the ground and walked over to them. I wasn’t going to mess this up by the feeling of being burdened. So we ran, getting a head start, then jumped because what else was could we do?