Summers of our childhood

A few weeks ago somebody asked me: “were summers long and gorgeous when we were kids, or are we just remembering them too fondly?”

At first, I thought “Yes, they were glorious; full of endless sunshine and fun”, but I’ve since given it a lot more thought.

I know, I can’t argue with the facts. Rainfall has been a lot higher in recent years, and that’s backed up by the MET Office. But the summers of our childhood can’t really have been perfect, can they?

As a kid the days take forever to pass. Waking up on the first day of the summer holiday, all you can see is summer, stretched out before you, almost an infinite anount of days. And every day is full of possibilities and adventures.

I used to go on countless bike rides, passing through all the local villages, and while I mainly remember doing this in the sunshine, if I really dig for old memories I remember there were times when I was out on my bike miles from home, when suddenly I was caught in a huge thunderstorm. I suppose the difference is as a kid I was exhilarated by it. It didn’t bother me at all pedalling through torrential rain – it was just part of the adventure.

As a kid I didn’t stress about my hair being ruined. There was no worry about mascara running. Not a thought was given to my clothes being wet through. It was just fun. Pure, unaldulterated fun.

As an adult we regard rain as a fun-stopper. We give it far too much importance, so it’s no wonder we dwell on the bad days of summer too much.

Similarly, as a child I used to have days where I played with the huge crate of Lego I shared with my brother, retreated into the world of books, or played on our treasured Spectrum 128k. Looking back, these days spent indoors were probably encouraged by bad weather. But the difference is I found other fun stuff to do. I had different adventures. I still had fun.

As adults, it seems we forget that you don’t have to go out to have an adventure. As soon as the weather turns inclement we grumble about our ruined plans – but don’t stop to make new ones. Often our time off of work is limited; we have perhaps 2 weeks to have a pre-arranged amount of fun completely dependent on good weather. When rain stops play we remember the whole summer as a disappointment.

Maybe the summers of our childhood weren’t as golden as we remember. Maybe we just used them better.

9th August 2012

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