One of the things I love best is listening to people talk about their childhoods. The smallest details thrill me. I can almost taste the crispy bacon sandwiches, hear mums raise their voices over suspicious smoke-infused clothing, visualise the garish neon of a 70s wild child and suffer a broken heart with stories of broken homes. I suppose it isn’t strange really, especially with my love of story telling and the way I tend to immerse myself in music, literature, film and most importantly people’s lives. I've always partially lived in my own dream world. I also have a thing for names. It’s always easier to picture a Frank, Julia or a Steve than simply 'mum', 'cousin' or 'nan'.
Personally, I had a good childhood. It wasn’t a fairy tale childhood, no. There weren’t any tree houses or playing in the mud. Even my teenage years were rather tranquil. Sure I had my share of mischief, but there were no drugs, or doors slammed, cigarettes smoked or attempted runaways. With fear of sounding ungrateful, I sometimes I feel like I missed out and maybe that’s why I bathe in the glow of other people’s childhoods. Don’t get me wrong, I was – and remain – incredibly fortunate. But I wonder if sometimes, and particularly in Arab societies, what we have and own, what material goods, financial security and the like, dominate the things that really matter.
That may be why sometimes I feel like a bit of a hypocrite. I have a grudge against materialism. Yet I enjoy it and I cannot live without it. What is excessive and what is necessity has become a blurred line, for many asides from myself I’m sure. The extremes of romanticism and gluttonous indulgence insult my intelligence and emotions. Trying to find a happy medium is both exhausting and exhilarating, and I am privileged to even have the option to do so. Meanwhile, I remain torn as to why I still question myself and my life. But again, I both envy and scorn the carefree. It's a perplexing situation, this. This being growing up. Or at least that's what I think 'this' is. What do you reckon?