We all have to grow up. This is one thing we need to accept, so I usually don’t miss my childhood – I just miss some of the memories I made as a child. This is why you never re-watch a childhood favourite film or cartoon. As adults we laugh at the innocence we had. What we really miss is the little responsibility we had as children, we just tried to have as much fun as we possibly could.
One of the things I do genuinely miss is fresh fruit and veg. There were always something bound to be growing, be it spinach or tomatoes. There were figs and pomegranates, they were free and delicious. The best was climbing into the mulberry tree to eat as many as you could, we always climbed out of the tree with stained clothes. The smell of fresh peaches and apricots cannot be replicated, forever a memory of my great-grandmother. As one grew older and moved, there were new fruits such as plum trees, to climb and hide in. Before my grandfather passed away, he planted papaya trees, banana trees, a walnut tree, litchi bushes, somewhere there’s a guava tree – I still smell it in the summer, an orange tree, a grapefruit tree and a lemon tree, those are the ones I remember. No one tends to them anymore, I haven’t seen a papaya grown here in years. But that was my childhood, fresh fruit and veg. Now we only have two avo trees that we still collect the spoils from.
I miss my grandfather. As a small child he used to take me out in the late afternoon and we used to go water all 1000 rose bushes that he owned, just the two of us. I used to get away with so much. In primary school I used to cycle to school, it was about 5km away but I couldn’t cycle and carry my bag on my back without falling backward. If they were visiting, he would pick up my bag and I would cycle home. My most treasured memory would be the day before he passed away. I went to visit him in the hospital, he kissed my hand, said goodbye and that he loves me. I got my closure.
I miss making friends as easily as I did. I know, there has to be one strange thing on here. I lived in a complex and I knew most of the neighbours and the kids. We knew most people in the street as well. That was just how life was. Everyone knew almost everyone and even when you fought with another friend, no one used to gang up or leave. Now I just hear the next door neighbour’s band, now and then. They aren’t that great but at least they use an electric drum kit. The guy across the road knows us, because he’s the head of the neighbourhood watch. Friends are few and far between.
I also miss travelling. Those were the days. Going on holiday was something new and fun. It was outside the norm. It may have been to the sea, but it was an adventure. We travelled far and wide as children and teenagers. There was always something new to be discovered. Now it’s just staring at the same few walls, wishing for a holiday that will never come.
Then there were the small things, like not being pressured into meeting a guy – because boys were friends and that’s all they were. Remember those yummy multi-vitamins we used to take? The closest I get to any ‘yummy’ vitamins are the chewable calcium tablets, they are supposed to taste like oranges. Scrapes and bruises were the biggest worries we had. Now it’s work, an income to make sure you stay afloat, medical aid – those scrapes and bruises are a bit bigger and worrisome and everything else that keeps you awake at night.
Life may have been less complicated back then, but I don’t want to repeat my childhood. Growing up is an adventure. There’s so many things that you can do and the failure may seem like the end of the world. Back then adventures were all just made up, now they are reality. Travelling as a child may not be taken as serious, but now you will remember and cherish those moments. Learning isn’t just confined to a classroom anymore, now one learn anywhere and everywhere. People pass on knowledge without knowing it, small tidbits are always thrown around. All I miss is making the memories I have, I wouldn’t miss making more of those.