December 7, 2022
Just picture your 8-year-old self for a moment. Remember turning off the lights in the basement and running upstairs like there’s no tomorrow? Or crying about that watermelon seed that will definitely grow into a full-size fruit inside your belly? What about the thrill of draping blankets across the furniture to create the most elaborate fort ever?
We all have hoped to return to those carefree childhood days at some point in our lives. But while we can’t time travel back to the past (at least not yet!), we can look at pictures that make us feel like little kids again. Luckily for us, plenty of examples can be found in a wholesome corner of the internet called ‘Ouch, Right in the Childhood’. This Facebook page allows us to reminisce about the good times by sharing nostalgic memes and pics that speak directly to our inner child.
So buckle up and get ready to take a stroll down memory lane because we’ve compiled some of the most accurate and hilarious posts that hit right in the feels. Continue scrolling, upvote the ones you could relate to all too well, and let us know what you miss most about being a kid in the comment section below! Keep reading to also find an in-depth interview with licensed clinical psychologist Dr. Jesse Matthews about the relationship between our past and present selves.
When we were little, we used to make the world our playground, let our ideas run free, and find magic in the most mundane scenarios. We were almost hardwired to be curious and adventurous, but unfortunately, the process of socialization and schooling might have robbed us of our imagination and caused us to become less creative over time.
“As we get older, our lives become more complicated and we take on more responsibility,” Dr. Jesse Matthews told Bored Panda. “Since this becomes our focus, we have less time available for fun, and we tend to view play as something that can’t happen until after work.”
However, amusing ourselves and goofing around was one of our primary focuses as children. The psychologist explained that we equate having fun with happiness and view our childhood as when that was more plentiful. “And because we had so much less responsibility and fewer worries than we have as adults, we think of that period as carefree as well,” he added.
“These tend to be truths for many people, though nostalgia certainly plays a role,” Dr. Matthews said and added that we often see our childhoods as happy and carefree, even if they might have been fairly stressful or difficult. “Because of nostalgia, we may be more likely to remember good things or things that match our views on that period, rather than some of the more negative things. It’s one of the ways people romanticize the past, which they may also do for their high school, college, or single young adult days.”
But dwelling on the past can easily distract us from the present. According to the psychologist, people can sometimes get so obsessed with their childhood memories that they forget to lead fulfilling lives today. “Like anything else, you don’t want to take this to an extreme,” he suggested. “There is a difference between remembering or reconnecting with the past and living in the past.”
“You can’t go back, nor can you recreate your childhood, college, or any other time in your life. The thing I always say to people is to embrace growth and move on in life, but don’t forget who you were before. The past will always be part of you, and memories are proof of that. Hopefully, you have a lot of good ones and you will have the opportunity to create many more.”
Although stumbling upon memes about your childhood can hit you with a blast from the past and make you nostalgic about the good old days, they evoke positive emotions too. You see, Dr. Matthews stated that our memories aren’t as good as we like to think they are. “We often have incomplete or inaccurate memories of things from our past. Much of the detail is there, but we may not be able to access it readily, unless it is triggered by something. This is part of why seeing things like pictures or jokes actually triggers can be exciting. Hearing a childhood joke, seeing a photo of us with a friend or sibling at a certain age, or hearing an old song can bring back not only memories, but positive feelings.”
As we get older and gain different experiences that help us construct new values and morals, we sometimes look at our past selves from a distance. Dr. Matthews told us it’s certainly interesting to him as a psychologist to study how we look back on our childhood behavior. “For one, it has diagnostic value when I am trying to assess whether a person could have ADHD or for how long they may have been depressed or anxious.”
“More than that, however, it gives insight into our personalities,” he continued. “If you were a talkative and outgoing child, chances are you still are today. Same thing if you were quiet and reserved.” The psychologist noted that looking back is also useful if a person feels lost or is trying to reconnect with who they have been in their lives. “For example, sometimes people get so bogged down with responsibility and things they have to do, that they no longer engage in hobbies, have many interests, or do much other than work. Reflecting on the past might help a person to remember who they were before and what they enjoyed, possibly to change course in the present.”
We’re well aware of how easy it is to get absorbed by our daily troubles and how life can become busy and tiring. As adults, we might lose our sense of freedom and feel that our tendency to self-censor ourselves puts a big creative block on our thinking. To avoid going round in circles, we can try to reconnect and pay attention to that little voice somewhere deep inside us. After all, our curiosity, lightheartedness, and positivity may be slightly different today but it’s still there, waiting to be uncovered.
“Connecting with our inner child is a wonderful way to reconnect with ourselves, especially if we have felt lost, stuck, or in a rut in life,” Dr. Matthews explained. “Childhood is simple, compared to adulthood, and it’s in the complexity of life that we often forget things like being mindful, creative, having fun, or not worrying about everything. And being able to do these things, especially when life isn’t always easy, is a form of freedom.”