On Growing Up and Giving Up / On Innocence and Ignorance

Growing Up

What happened to us?  Where did the years go, all those moments we thought would last forever, those days spent doing nothing, worrying about nothing?  Where did our innocence go, our belief that the world was good and people were kind and the question of whether or not you were a good person wasn’t even so much as a sliver of a cloud in your clear blue sky?

What happened to us?

At what point did things start to matter more than they ever really had to?  When was the last time we looked in a mirror and liked what we saw there?  When did we stop enjoying life, high off of the simple fact that we were alive, that existence was a gift all on its own and one you thought you would never grow tired of?  But even the shiniest toys are tucked away, lost among other forgotten memories in dark closets where they collect dust and the sheen of their prime fades into nothingness, until the day comes when you take them out for the simple joy of nostalgia, of escaping the present and reliving the past as best we can.

When did we give up on life?

When did we pack up our motivation, our will and desire to live, our hopes and dreams and loves and passions, our very essence?  When did we give up?

Why did we give up?

What drove us to the edge and off the side, what made us bitter and hateful and grim and cynical?  Was it the world, corrupted from the beginning and only beautiful when seen through the stupidity and innocence of youth?  Was it life itself, the terrible joke we play on ourselves, a scenic road trip where we only see the cliff when we near the end?  Or was it something in us all along, a fruit that grew rotten and sour as we aged?

Were we destined to fall from the very beginning?

Or did our spirits crumple under the weight of this life, fragile things meant for the frivolities of innocence and not the crushing pain of reality?

Would it matter, either way?  Or is our fate already sealed, an inevitable and just dessert for the things we’ve done and the things we should have done?

Maybe growing up and giving up are one and the same.  Maybe it’s just a ride, and you close your eyes to the truth and try to enjoy it for as long as you can.  Because once you’ve opened them, no amount of squeezing them shut again will ever erase that image from your mind.  Innocence is a one-time deal, no refunds or warranties.  Once it’s gone it’s gone, and there’s no getting it back.

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