The Innocence of Youth & The Wisdom of Age
Becoming a parent opened my eyes up to just how cynical, critical and and world weary I had become.
It wasn’t until witnessing up close and personal the sheer delight, innocence and can-do attitude from my boys that I realised how much fun and excitement was missing from my life.
So concerned with other peoples opinions and expectations, I had, as most of us probably do, developed a persona which was socially acceptable. Yet it wasn’t acceptable to me.
Despite my long ago naive teenage determination not to conform for anyone or anything, I had.
I realised I was not the person I wanted to be.
My care free traits were confined to sporadic moments of self expression, rather than the norm.
Days at the beach where my children shucked their clothes and ran naked along the sand, screaming in delight as they chased seagulls and tried jumping waves, reinforced their “couldn’t care less” attitude.
They weren’t and still aren’t self-conscious of their bodies; as happy and content naked as they are wearing a Batman onesie or pink pyjamas. Yet there I was, reluctant to wear anything revealing due to my own insecurities. I preached to my children not to care what others think about their bodies, I told them they were beautiful, gorgeous and had nothing to be ashamed of, yet I despised myself and thought everyone who saw me judged, mocked and laughed.
They embrace “Naked Day” with such innocent enthusiasm, I honestly dread the day it ends.
I dread the years when they will have self doubt and body confidence issues. I hate to think they could ever be ashamed of who they are, either physically or mentally.
It seems there is a period in life where we forget the carefree attitude of youth and focus on fitting in, conforming and feeling less than if we don’t fit.
Walking along the beach earlier today I saw it all; from the naked toddler squealing in delight as she toddled in to the sea, the lithe teenagers topping up their tans and those who didn’t know if they wanted to cover up or bare some skin.
But there was another group.
An enviable group who have recaptured some of the “couldn’t care less” attitude of their youth.
It was the pensioners.
Strutting along the beach, propped up in a deckchair or heading out for a swim; they didn’t give a tinkers toss as to what anyone thought. Bodies of all shapes and sizes were on display; wrinkled, scarred and aged; each one told a story of a life lived, a person who had got to the point in life where zero fucks were given as to what others thought.
My innocent years of childhood are behind me and my pensioner years are way off in the distant future, but I hope I can learn from both groups.
Because really, giving zero fucks as to what others think about me, sounds pretty darn liberating.