noun: inner child; plural noun: inner children
a person’s supposed original or true self, especially when regarded as concealed in adulthood.
While I was working on my entry for the ‘Essex Belongs to Us’ competition yesterday, I found myself beginning a poem entitled ‘What Does Essex Mean to Me?’. Having been born in Colchester, and then growing up in Clacton-on-Sea (and then finding myself living in Colchy in adulthood), it is a county very close to my heart. As I started writing about my home town by the seaside, I found myself come out with the following lines:
The noise and lights of Clacton Pier
Bring to mind those simple times
Full of childish thrill and cheer
In arcades of flashing lights and signs.
As I then scanned my childhood years for other memories associated with the county, my mind then drifted further afield to Southend on-Sea…
Or sometimes further to Southend
Playing with pirates and Peter Pan
The sort of amazing, magical weekend,
That you’d wish never to grow into a man.
By ‘pirates and Peter Pan’ I am referring to the attraction known as ‘Never Never Land’, which is sadly no more. Modelled after the magical realm of the same name from the Peter Pan stories, it was a truly amazing and fantastical place to visit when I was but a wee lad. So many castles within an enchanted forest where various model characters told tales, it was truly a joy to walk around and experience, and never seemed to get boring no matter how many times we visited it. Sadly it closed in 2001, but its one of those fond memories that I can still always hold onto (and the fairy castle still remains today, as the site within the link shows).
Of course, growing up is inevitable; Never Never Land isn’t real, and you can’t be a child forever – but it did get me to thinking how important it is to hold on to that child inside of you. As the definition above conveys, in a sense it is your ‘original’ or ‘true’ self. I am the person I am today because of my childhood experiences, therefore they are not something that should be cast aside or forgotten. There is nothing wrong with indulging your inner child occassionally.
For me, I find I do this first and foremost simply through the medium of writing, as I have inadvedently demonstrated through my initial attempt at writing about my home county. It is essentially an escape into another world, creating your own inhabitants who follow your rules. This is especially true if writing science fiction or fantasy, or simply any story where your character goes on an unbelievable adventure. I mean, I’m currently working on a short story that involves witches and talking cats! If I didn’t have that odd indulgence into the fantastical and/or downright silly I think I’d probably drive myself mad. A lot of the poems I have written are quite childlike as well in a way, now that I think about it.
My job also affords me various opportunities to let my inner child come out to play. As I support individuals with autism, among the things I do is take them out to the local ‘leisure’ pool, designed with children in mind, that is full of slides, rapid rivers and all sorts of fun things like that. And at the age of nearly 30, I can still have an absolute rollicking good time at a place like this, and find it’s one of the highlights of my week. Going to a local trampoline park is something of a treat as well, even if I do find myself exhausted after bouncing about for only 15 minutes!
Indulging in nostalgia is also a perfectly healthy thing, I find. Well, I think we all do it. Play old ‘retro’ video games from when we were growing up, listening to old music we loved (that the grumpier of us may insist is better than any of the rubbish they put on these days). Heck, this is precisely what I’m doing when I write one of my ‘Years of My Life’ entries on this very blog! As long as we’re not permanently living in the past with our rose-tinted spectacles on, there’s nothing wrong with reminiscing back to simpler times when we have the spare time to relax and bask in them.
So remember the good times. Be a little silly now and then. Go and jump in a few puddles, jump up and down on a trampoline. Sit down and write about the imaginary world that you find yourself daydreaming about. You’re never too old…
Love and best wishes,
Check out my first poetry collection, ‘The Awakening’, available NOW for download as an eBook on Amazon. Check it out here: http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B017BZBH6M