If clocks were to spin back, and dates were to turn back, and I became 10 again…
I would frolic around in the grass, not caring about the green stains I'll get on my pants. I would roll like a snow ball, not thinking about who's giving me a strange look or who's rolling his eyes at me. I wouldn't mind the insects; after all I'm the one harassing them! I would enjoy the smell of fresh cut greenery, not worrying about allergies. I would fall asleep right there… Just because I'm tired. Without a care in the world about tiny creatures crawling into my ears or nostrils!
If I were 10, I would jump into water fountains and get my clothes, hair and shoes all wet. I wouldn't care about feeling cold afterwards or catching the flu. I would jump up and down making splashes wherever I can!
If I were 10, I would ride my bike into water and mud puddles, get myself all covered in dirt… Not minding all the germs, just laughing my lungs out at how I look with all that goo!
If I were 10, I would sleep in my parents' bed, get myself squished in the middle with not enough pillow space!
If I were 10, I would cut my own hair, get crooked bangs that look stupid and funny, and don't suit me at all… The night right before Eid!
If I were 10, I would eat Nutella sandwiches as a snack, and then finish off the jar of goodness with huge spoonfuls until my stomach hurts and I feel sick! My only regret would be that the once filled-to-the-top jar is now an empty one.
If I were 10, I would hide behind curtains, whether I'm playing hide and seek or simply disappearing after breaking mama's favorite vase!
If I were 10, I would chase butterflies, not caring where I end up… Just running after them wherever they go, no matter how far. And no worries if I get lost, someone will eventually find me once I start crying.
These are not dead hopes for what I had missed out on when I was 10. But rather, these are longings for what I'm missing out on now. Perhaps you can call them my soul's cravings. The things I cannot do anymore because my soul is apparently on a 'strict diet' that won't allow me to indulge in those yummy cravings! Mostly because of society's constraints… And often because of self-imposed red lines.
Why is it that each year we grow older, those red lines become thicker and thicker? Do we associate simple fun with foolishness? Are we fixated on other's criticism and their opinions of us?
Maybe if once in a while all of us would let out the 10 year old captivated within us, the world would become a better and pleasant place. More peaceful and playful. The air would somehow feel lighter and fresher… Just maybe…
So the next time you feel like skipping down the corridor at work, I say… do it!
– Reem Behbehani
Image Alya's Flickr Photos