I miss being a child. I remember when 10:00pm was “late”, but at the age of ten my best friend called my home phone at that time and I was already in bed. I remember coming home from school and as soon as I had my tea (which was really just fruit), I had to shower and get changed and ready for ballet or piano; as soon as I got home I ate dinner and did my homework, and after that if I was lucky I’d play computer games for an hour, brush my teeth, and go to bed.
It was easy. I could be exaggerating, but it was so easy to have so many things to do. It was so easy juggling four or more dance classes a week, along with piano and swimming. I got enough sleep and I got to finish all my homework and I never struggled and I never stressed out.
I took a long time to shower. I took my time. I was also a terrible eater. I was picky, but I ate very slowly. I struggled to eat. For a while I’ve dealt with a small stomach problem, and as a child I would often take over an hour to eat my dinner and down my spinach and corn.
I remember my brother stressing out at that age. I remember him being temperamental and disorganised before he even began seventh grade. I know I wasn’t like that at all. It was when I was sixteen that things took a toll and I gradually dropped my extracurricular activities. I had an order. What I liked the least was what I dropped first. Swimming. Then funk. Then tap dance. Then singing. Then jazz. Then…
I believe that over the years, I accumulated a deep sense of worry for more than just my extracurricular activities. As many of them demanded my attention and my practice, often pushing me forward with exams of their own – or in the cases of dance; shows, competitions, performances, – I had to weave such events into my schedule. Dance school was like another school altogether, and the pressure to attend regular school for six hours a day along with all those commitments began to quash my ability to keep atop the homework tasks set daily.
Time and time again I worried that I’d run out of time to keep on top of everything. I can’t pick out the exact point where it got worse. My secondary school days are now – in my head – a blur of hastened friendships, relationships, and struggles with depression.
No, it wasn’t simple. But I remember once being unworried, then being worried.
Now I’m unworried.
It was Australia Day today, and I didn’t have to go to work because this date, the 26th January, is recognised as a public holiday. I sat at home for most of the day listening to the Triple J Hottest 100, and played guitar and painted my nails a jellybean blue. Not too far into the future, I’ll be working, I’ll be studying, and life will be just as hectic as it was last year. But briefly, I think about how having so much to do can be a burden on even the most organised, energetic person. I think that shooing the worries that will soon come my way will not work unless I put in some effort.
So much to worry about as an adult. Money. People. Education. Work. Responsibility. Yet I believe I have changed. I am no longer scared of growing up. I am no longer scared of time passing. But those are things that will doubtlessly arrive at one point or another, or that overcome me at some point. If I can keep pushing away the worries that haven’t arrived, then surely they will keep their distance.
I miss being a kid, being unworried.
But when I think about it, I too am a kid at heart.