Something that’s quite interesting to me is that there are several pieces of fiction created for children (or young adults) that as a child or teenager, I thought were too childish for me and did not enjoy – yet now, as an adult, I can enjoy these things. The further I move away from the target demographic, the more I appreciate them.
Take, for example, The Sarah Jane Adventures – this was the CBBC spin-off of Doctor Who and made with a slightly younger audience in mind. When it was on originally, I watched a few episodes and thought to myself “no. This was made for children. I am not a child. I do not enjoy this.” and the same goes for several video games made by Nintendo – I played them, found them to be especially child-oriented and didn’t pay them much attention. I was more interested in nineteenth century literature. I felt that it was a sign of maturity that such things did not interest me.
Looking back, however, I see that it was quite the opposite. It was a sign of immaturity. As teenagers, we’re all so desperate to be thought of as adults and that’s certainly how we view ourselves, but we don’t realise that our minds still aren’t fully formed. Or, at least, mine wasn’t. My disliking of more child-oriented things was purely irrational – born out of a fear of not being taken seriously. It was to such an extent that I didn’t even realise this was the case.
But growing older isn’t about no longer enjoying childish activities and only enjoying adult activities. That would mean that the number of things you enjoy never really grows, because you’d lose some while you gained others. But now I see that becoming an adult is being able to appreciate the things that only appeal to older audiences, while retaining that appreciation for the amusements of childhood. Or, at least, that’s how I feel it should be. I’m sure there are a lot of people who worry so much about being taken seriously that they’d never really allow themselves to admit that they genuinely enjoy these things that are essentially ‘for children.’
I know I’m focusing on fiction and stories created for children, but I feel that this general principle applies to all aspects of life. There’s nothing shameful in enjoying the things you enjoyed as a child – it merely shows that you are empathetic enough to be able to remember how it really feels to be a child.