I think most kids think their childhoods are pretty normal as they’re growing up. We have no frame of reference, so why wouldn’t we think whatever we’re experiencing normal? It takes a while before we start to compare ourselves to the outward glimpses of other kids, and even then, who’s to say they aren’t the odd ones? After all, our parents are the most authoritative figures in our lives, so whatever they’re advocating must be the right way about going about things. And even once we realize our parents are merely human, we still only know what we know.
Even now. I can’t fathom what it would be like to grow up somewhere — the same somewhere — and have the same friends and go to the same school and whatever else growing up in one place might mean. I also don’t know if it’s better or worse than moving all the time, of never knowing how much longer until the next move, of not having that feeling of a home. Am I more adaptive and flexible? Did I learn confidence and how to get along with anyone? Would I fear change and speaking in front of large crowds and meeting new people if I lived in the same house with the same people all my life?
Some things I do know. And some things I continue to learn.
Why does it matter? Why not just say you had a childhood and I had a childhood and we’re all adults now and we make our lives now? We do make our lives now and I don’t see a reason to spend our time in the past. Mostly I find that dwelling on the past doesn’t do anything to move me forward. It just pulls me back into a place I have no desire to be.
Sometimes, I don’t know how I end up in a place or a feeling and then I realize I’m just going through the motions I learned a long time ago. And I don’t have to go through those motions. But I can’t know that until I know where I learned them. Which is a convoluted way of saying that the past can set you free. Or something possibly less pithy.
Also, sometimes people think the stories about my childhood are funny.