Recently, I've been weighing the ideal childhood. I've thought about my life as a child, and the lives of the children around me. What would make their life better? What would make it worse? Will they look back and regret their youthful years? Or will those years be filled with laughter and joy? Beyond those musings, I suppose my greatest curiosity is what I would consider to be a good childhood.
As a child, my life's watermarks were far from happy times. They were made of hardships, sadness, and anger. They were made of emotions no child should have to deal with. The watermarks were made of life-long battles and annual tears. Superficially, I would say this is no childhood anyone should experience. I would say it was a childhood made to drag down the weak and build up the strong. The after-affects of such a childhood would depend on the individual.
When I weigh these difficulties of the past, I also consider the good moments—the laughter, the smiles, the giggles, and the tickles. I think about those who made a difference in my life. In one way or another, they caused some of the happiness I experienced. When I weigh the difficulties, I meditate on the easy moments. I become conscious in the good and the bad. I needed both of these to make it to the present.
Knowing this, I ask myself, was it a good childhood? Was it the best I could have had?
To the first question, I answer “no”. It was not a good childhood. In fact, it was far from “good”. It was borderline “bad”. There were cherish-able memories;but for every positive, there were two negatives. On the same note, however, it was the best I could have had. Without it, I would never be strong. I would have never beaten my naïve idealism. If I had a different childhood, my current life would have changed as well. If I had the “ideal” childhood, I may not be my ideal individual.
In this way, I consider a good childhood to be one that creates a beneficial individual to society and to oneself. Without the downfalls, there would be no lessons learned. Without the perks, there would be no motivation through the hardships. They go hand-in-hand, these “good times” and “bad times”. They create a childhood, and they create the person.
Whether or not there are regrets in the end is up to the individual. It's based on outlooks and worldviews. Things could be better, but they could also be worse. We are where we are. If things were meant to be different, maybe they would be. If we want to be in another spot in life, it is up to us to get us there. It has very little to do with childhood and very much to do with self-creation and motivation.
I believe our childhoods are our building blocks, but we are our foundation. In the end, “we” is all “we” have. I am all I have. You are all you have. Everyone dies alone and lives together. Our childhood merely gives us the start. It is up to us to finish.
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Catch J.T. Selene blogging at Opinions, Thoughts, and Shot Glasses. She blogs about life, family, and her observations on the human condition. If you stick around a while, you might even be offered a drink.