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What We Can't Have - A Short Story

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I'm a young author making a break in the world of writing. I have experience writing short stories, books, poetry, and reviews.

What We Can't Have

We want what we can’t have. As children, we long to be an adult, or in some cases simply a teen. We want to grow up and be able to go wherever we want, do whatever we want, and be whatever we want. I remember looking forward to being in high school and learning biology off of flashcards while also going to the mall with my friends in our own cars.

As children, we don’t want to be treated as such. We shout “I’m a big kid” and “Mom I’m not a baby anymore.” We play house, adults, or games mimicking what we see adults doing. When we are children and living by the rules of our guardians, we say “I can’t wait to be an adult so I can eat dessert for breakfast and watch TV all day long.” While our expectations for adult life were fantastical and exaggerated, we still longed for them nonetheless. When we are children we don’t want to be children, we want to be older.

However, as we achieve that wish and grow older, we long to be a child once again. We long to go back to the time where times were simpler, we didn’t have work or hours of homework, we just had a multiplication sheet and plenty of playtime. We long to not have to worry about money, taxes, or working for long hours so that we can have food to eat. Children don’t have that many responsibilities, and that grows more and more appealing as we grow.

As children, we were also much more innocent. Our world was painted in bright colors and stress wasn’t as needed. We were protected from the dangers and harms of the world, and we believed that we could completely change the world and that it would be an easy thing to do. Now that we are older, we long to not have to face the darkness that the world holds, we long to be innocent and happy again. We didn’t have to fear not being able to love who we love, we didn't have to fear the corruption of the government and business, the fear of the environment that still continues to be damaged, we didn’t have to fear the big things. We were protected and we long to have that protective blanket around us once again.

As a child, I couldn’t wait to be grown, live on my own, go to parties, and study for my classes. Now, I want to go back to the time where I was playing house with my friends and being the first to open Christmas presents because I was the youngest. But as time moves on, you can’t change any of that. You can’t suddenly become a child again and you can’t suddenly grow 10 years into a teen/adult. Yet we still long because we want what we can’t have.

But that doesn’t mean that now that we are older we have to be subjected to a life of boredom and the dull. That childlike wonder and spirit are still in us, just dulled a bit from the harsh world. If we take the moment to sharpen, we can achieve some of that longing. Sure we can’t reverse what has happened in our lives and become innocent again or not have to earn money with our work, but we can look at the world through a more adventurous spirit. I mean, a water park or a fair is just a bigger version of our childhood playgrounds.

It’s about perspective. What did you look forward to as a child? Was it studying for a test, working a job, or moving out? Sure it’s not as fantastical as we thought it would be, but by bringing that childlike attitude into it things can become more pleasant. Make those flashcards colorful. Try to befriend coworkers and hang out when time allows. Make moving out an adventure by setting goals and rewards. Shifting a perspective can help us have a taste of what we can’t have, and sometimes having only a little is better than nothing at all.

© 2020 EL Doll

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