Did you ever happen to see the wonderful documentary series “UP”? directed by Michael Apted and commissioned decades ago by Granada Television in the UK?
Starting in 1964, it ground-breakingly recorded a group of disparate children at 7 years of age, then at 14 years of age and 28 years, 35 years and 42.
When I watched the “35UP” programme I was struck by a cloud-parting insight. As the filmmakers cut together each 35 year old with their 7 year old self I could see that those who were happiest, most content and successful were the ones who had remained true to the individuals they were when they were little.
Have you remained true to who you were at 7 years of age?
The successful grown-ups were those in the group chosen by the filmmakers who had not, like me and the others, spent much of their lives wild goose chasing.
I am all-for a good wild goose chase and to illustrate this point I will let you know that when I was of an age to theoretically know better, maybe 10 or 11? I am proud to say I remember chasing wild rabbits about with a cellar of salt having been told if you sprinkled salt on their tails they would not run away.
I still happily believe dumb things like this.
Rainbows still lure me with their elusive pots of gold even while I have actually trudged for miles, lugging a heavy spade, experienced the disappointment of rainbows not getting any closer so you can’t reach their end at all (did you know?).
As I write that I realize this is a metaphor for my life. I have chased rainbows my whole life and it’s taken me from living in Glasgow to London to Sydney to Auckland and back to Glasgow. And still no pot of gold. Lots of very pretty rainbows however, especially in Sydney after a thunderous rainstorm.
I was thinking about all this last weekend when I noticed on Twitter #WheniWasLittle as a ‘trending topic’. Don’t you just love Twitter?
Curious, I clicked and was delighted by some of the wonderful statements people made on this topic.
I’ve copied some here for you. I hope you will smile as you read them and maybe also reflect on how different or the same you are to who you were at 7 years of age.
I’m sure you were utterly lovely.
@imdabutterfly i was small.. Hhaahahhhaha..
@EleniTweet_x #WheniWasLittle Me And My Sister Would Fight Over Barbies
@Temayah RT @joeythechase: I still have mine RT @Temayah: #wheniwaslittle i had a susu box..—lmao! Rili?
@neneclemons #wheniwaslittle when spacejam came out i confused michael jordan with r.kelly
@kylebanks #WhenIWasLittle I didn’t have to get up at 4AM to go to work at 5AM
@BeeDubbleYu #wheniwaslittle i wanted to be older…now i want to be little again
@mattyicerob7 #wheniwaslittle I was into pokemon. The cards, games, and show. But now I’m only into the games.
@jozegr8 #wheniwaslittle we passed letters like – “Do you like me?” Check: Yes No Maybe.
@KatStacksLaugh #wheniwaslittle Toy’s R US was the Ultimate Heaven.
@jemstarmusic #wheniwaslittle I used watch Family Matters, Fresh Prince, Saved by the bell, Martin .. Still do! lol
@de_bisi #wheniwaslittle I was the black sheep of the family! Wait I still am! Oh well
@Temayah: #wheniwaslittle i loved bathin in da rain… Gawd i miss those tyms
@VIR3N #wheniwaslittle I used to think that I could use MSN without internet. #fail
@Gussser #wheniwaslittle me and my friend michael would go outside in the rain and play like idiots.
@demibass #wheniwaslittle I use to make ‘potions’ with the hair products, shampoos and conditioners
@itssssawyer #WheniWasLittle i put my grmas car in drive &it almost drove out tha gas station , thas y u dnt leave badd ass kids inda car by themself
@BeanzDaring: #wheniwaslittle we used 2 put empty Huggie containers n our bike tires so our bikes can sound like dirt bikes
@Mr_Jay_Woods #wheniwaslittle “THERE WAS A SUCH THING CALLED #SCHOOLSHOES”
@arli92 #wheniwaslittle going down backwards on a slide was the SHIITT lol
@helloanxious #wheniwaslittle i used to think my freckles made me gorgeous. not so much now.
@thelps1987 #wheniwaslittle we used to play football in the park for ages! none of this ps3 nonsense
@TevRunWisdom #wheniwaslittle I used to call people cheaters if they found me in hide n seek
@dave_alist #wheniwaslittle I thought it was cool to run around peeing on people..
@DevikaDidi #WheniWaslittle I used to have a boy short cut hair.. People be asking me if I’m a boy or a girl when I have a barbie jacket on.. D:
@mrym_xoxo #wheniwaslittle I believed in happy endings
@SiMpLY_GoLDeN_#wheniwaslittle I loved playing in the dark!
@Djembe_Djammer #wheniwaslittle Being double-dared something was like a death sentence.
@tslkailahgirafe #wheniwaslittle there was actually good programs on tv
@nightwork4 #wheniwaslittle we had 3 channels on TV. we actually played outside too
@MairaSalvatore #wheniwaslittle my families would always play around with my hair since it long —
@Mr_Jay_Woods #wheniwaslittle “I USED TO TRY AND SELL LEMONADE IN FRONT OF THE HOUSE” (BUT I DIDNT KNOW U NEEDED SUGAR!! THAT SHIT WAS DISGUSTING)
@patrizisbored #wheniwaslittle my grandpa used to put me on his shoulders so i can shoot the ball in the basketball ring at the park :’) good times.
@mrym_xoxo #wheniwaslittle I believed that was another world above the skies where fairies lived :p
@Liy939 I wanna go back to #wheniwaslittle cause back then, the hardest decision was picking a crayon…
@james_burge #wheniwaslittle we lost our teeth at 12 not our virginity!
@engelbertcrab #wheniwaslittle I had a bee cemetery
@rqdiva #wheniwaslittle my grandpa gave us chewing gum everytime he saw us. Lol
@mechellejones *blank stare*RT @MissDisla: #wheniwaslittle my mom taught me how to handle my liquor so that i wont use that excuse when i decide 2 have sex