Embracing the Early Years

My name is Grace Kamin, and I am a sophomore, majoring in Philosophy, Politics, and Law (PPL). I love reading, writing, and dogs. 

Essay by Grace Kamin
Photo by Grace Kamin

I believe in building forts. I believe in swings. I believe in Jenga. I believe in dancing in sprinklers. I believe in snowball fights, Minecraft, Wii Sports or sometimes even talking to an imaginary friend or two. I believe in doing things that make you feel like a child again.

I know I am not old. I know I am, in fact, quite young. Yet, last year, I had what one would call a one fifth life crisis. As I began to hear back from colleges, I lived in a period of unknown. I did not know where the next four formative years of my life would be.

For eighteen years, I had grown up in the same city in the same apartment and took the same train to the same school where I saw my same friends. Life was comfortable, and I am a creature of habit.

Anyways, flashback to me, in the same apartment, all the sudden figuring out where I was going to college. My life was not going to be the same in a few months, and I felt deeply unsettled as imminent change loomed over me. However, what truly scared me was the fact that I felt like my childhood had come to an end. Gone were the days of early morning subway rides, lunchroom laughter, walking home with my friends, my dog greeting me after school, and family dinners every night. “This was it,” I thought. “I am about to cross the threshold into the real world.”

With my newly gained knowledge, I know that I am very much not in the real world quite yet. However, in the summer of 2020, I was terrified. For a while I grieved this loss. I looked back at old photos, reminiscing on the perfect simplicity of my younger days. The endless scrolling through childhood albums did little to abate my pain. So, as a solution, I turned towards things that made me feel like a child again.

With the incomprehensible amount of time that came with quarantine, I filled it up with quintessential Kamin family board games like Rummikub and Backgammon, at least three games a day each. My sister and I played hours and hours of Minecraft. This game, whose target audience is sixth grade boys, captured me and Marley’s hearts, and we dedicated disturbing amounts of time towards creating elaborate worlds. We built intricate forts in our living room, using couch cushions and wool blankets to make what one could only call a royal palace.

Evoking your inner child through doing these simple things that once brought you so much joy is an easy tool to make that feeling of impending adulthood feel a little less terrifying. There is no switch that flips when you turn eighteen that makes tire swings or Mario Kart less fun.

I am by no means advocating for you to stunt yourself and revert back to a prepubescent child. All I intend to say is let yourself be a child sometimes. That part of you is not lost. I am not ashamed that I can spend hours playing a video game for sixth grade boys. Feeling like a child again keeps us human. I urge you to play ISpy, draw a picture, hold your mom’s hand, log onto webkinz, or do whatever it is you did when you didn’t worry about vaccination rates, what your major would be, or internship prospects as they approach at a seemingly rapid pace. Life does not have to be so real yet, so don’t let it be.