“Childhood is not from birth to a certain age and at a certain age; the child is grown, and puts away the childish things. Childhood is the kingdom where nobody dies.”
Those are the very perceptive words of Edna St. Vincent Millay. Childhood holds a very precise yet broader meaning. I somewhat agree with Millay; a child apparently grows up but the essence of the adolescent is present somewhere inside a person. However, that somewhere of men is the deepest dungeon of their soul that is least bothered to be opened. The child inside a man gets lost eventually as he grows. That child is no more the essence of his being.
A man comprehends three stages in life: first, the fields of innocence; second, halls of ascertain and third, the reality. From birth till a certain age not only men but everyone lives in a world of unknown, a world where everything is naive, where everything is for believing while knowing nothing at all. How easily the swing of a cradle fills the eyes of a child with sleep, how easily a mother can relate insane stories to lesson a child, how easily a father can reason a child without a logical debate and how easily a child makes himself believe in all that he adores and rebuffs the rest. These are the fields of innocence and the most startling pasture of these fields is the fact that believing in something nonsense holds no consequences. A child can believe in as many as countless unreal imaginations. The tooth fairies, talking animals, super-powers, fairy godmothers, magical beans and Santa Clause – nothing clings to any boundaries. But as the time grows the child, he no longer remains the kid who believed in Santa Clause but steps onto a stage where everything he knew holds logic, logic that refuses the imaginations and persuades the child to discover the meaning behind every aspect.
A teenager deems rather a very diverse meaning for life. The teenage is the most enthusiastic age for one’s life. And for men, teenage is overwhelming. The child who knew the Santa no longer depends upon the gifts he’d bring but the new teenager holds a thought that it is he himself who can resolve his problems alone. For the male youth, a sudden fortune of future responsibilities is thrown and for which the meaning of life for them becomes coarse. The naiveté is no more there that can console the teenager with the illusory of Santa’s gifts and fairy godmothers. Believing in such fancy reflections becomes an insult for them. The life becomes acute; if it’s love, he loves till its extreme; if it’s hate, he needs to avenge; if it’s grief, he dries up his eyes; if it is wrath, he feels an urge to kill – every emotion in teenage is fervent. The reason for this passion is the exposure to the world. As the child who used to find his happiness in Santa’s gifts gets pictured to the not so unreal world, he gets inquisitive to test it. Back when a new toy came into his hands, he probed to trial the toy’s potential, in the same way when a new concept of living hits that child he becomes zealous about it. These are the halls of ascertain where the Santa is not believed anymore. Ultimately, as a man exits these halls, he comprehends the meaning of his existence, for which he’d been travelling all along, his destination – the reality.
Adulthood is the final and absolute stage of a man’s life. The journey that a man started – going through the silky pure fields and entering the halls where life echoes its meaning – the man at last is connoted to its station for which he’d been passing through stages all along. The Santa believing child grasps the truth behind imaginations and no more believes in the Santa, the same child when grows up into a man, is brought back to the stage he experienced first; the difference being that the innocence is no more. He knows, the Santa doesn’t exist but yet is forced to believe in it for the child that he has produced. The reality obliges a man to act such feats that are crucial for living. A man needs to find his way through the crowd just to know that living offers nothing but privation. For some, the life is fairly not so adverse but nevertheless it still bids its adversity. The fear of dearth compels the man to jump into the whirl of anguish. That whirl entitles only those of its eligibility who have outdone the previous two stages of life. A man who has excelled in reflecting the best out of life, a man who has ascertained each facet of life can only qualify for such a whirl – a man who has believed in Santa Clause and grew up to realize the lie behind his belief but yet holds onto the imaginations. Life doesn’t get much anguish after all.