So we went outside, me with my notebook (in case of inspiration) and her with her book. We walked to the swings and the grass felt soft under my bare toes. We sat down and she promptly opened her book and began reading. So I sat and looked at our backyard alone, with our cat rubbing against my legs. I thought longingly of hours playing outside, laughing and squealing and playing make-believe. We never knew boredom. There were countless things to do. Our imaginations knew no limits. All those moments were stolen by the very thing we wanted to do–grow up.
And grow up we did. Elementary school turned to middle school and then high school. Bright, messy clothes turned to jeans and flats. “Ew, boys,” thoughts disappeared. “What do you want to be when you grow up?” questions were replaced with “What job are you getting?” and “What career paths are you choosing?” Faraway dates of becoming a teenager and getting your driver’s licence suddenly don’t seem that far away.
And while all that is great, there’s still something that tugs at my heart. Something that makes me want to live those young moments again. I don’t want to take anything seriously. I want to run through the grass in bare feet, chasing my sisters and laughing. I don’t want to be fourteen. I want to be six.
My sister still sits on the swing, reading her book. I still write in my notebook, careless scrawling across the page. Behind me, our neighbor’s kids are laughing and squealing, their voices ringing throughout the quiet neighborhood. I close my eyes, breathe it in, and stand up. I think of all those memories.
I am fourteen, and while I sometimes wish to be six, I know I have a lifetime ahead of me. There are empty pages waiting to be filled with my life. Someday I’ll sit outside again, while age grips me–perhaps in a wheelchair–and dream of younger days. Someday I’ll wish to be fourteen again.