By Forrest Wang
Piles of stuffed animals, mountains of picture books, and heaps of little doodles: it was a storage of memories, a clutter of objects representing my childhood.
I watched my friends and peers move on eagerly to their futures while I wondered where the past had gone. Where was Blue’s Clues I used to watch every morning? Where was SpongeBob during the afternoons? Where was my childhood going?
I have always clung to anything that was once mine. Anything with sentimental value, no matter how insignificant, was worth keeping. I was like a pack rat: I hoarded and treasured memories; I refused to move on.
When I was six, my family moved from Texas to California, and everyone I knew was lost as I boarded that plane. Tired, sad, and hopeless, I clung to my little white tiger stuffed animal, Jeffrey, my most prized possession, as the plane took off.
Upon landing, I looked around and was besieged by the new environment: the sight, the smells, the climate, the people; everything was different. My distress soon increased as I realized Jeffrey was gone. Jeffrey, whom I had treasured for years, had disappeared along with the rest of my past from Texas.
Shocked by the loss of my dearest friend, I walked around in a daze: I didn’t know what to say, think, or do. I lost an intrinsic part of my own childhood on some airplane. My parents and brother all tried to console me, but no matter what they did or said, my six-year-old mind could not move on.
I soon found myself caring less for everything new in California and thinking more about the past. While my brother laughed and made new friends, I wallowed in the past and thought nothing of the present.
However, on the first day of school, I looked around as my classmates laughed and ran in the playground, as they smiled while the teacher read a funny story, as they enjoyed the time they had. I watched as they happily lived in the present. When one student later came over and asked me to play a game with him, I began to have fun, to enjoy myself, and to live.
I realized that although it was important to acknowledge and treasure the past, it was equally important to accept the future and live in the present. I embraced my love of the past with an equal understanding of the future. Although I still treasured the past, I gradually began to treasure the present and the future, and I began to move once more.
Leaving Childhood Behind
By Forrest Wang