I was on the subway recently, when a bunch of kids poured on for a field trip. They were all very excited to be on whatever excursion they were on, and they were in their element, because they were all there together. I don't think that I've really seen kids interact without the imposing influence of accompanying adults since I was one myself. Their teachers were there, but they were interacting with eachother, doing their normal thing.
Supposedly, kids love me, and supposedly I'm really good with them. I don't have enough experience to really test out that claim, but everyone who knows me always acts so surprised when children relate to me more strongly than they do with others. I don't know how to dumb myself down enough to speak to a kid like most people do, and they seem to like that.
I was tripping out watching these kids, because I could see that whole 'kid' personality shining through... like I said, I haven't really seen them in their element for a long time. It was very weird to me... they really seemed like such morons. I'm not saying that they were dumb for their age or anything, but that they were dumb because of their age... I don't remember being an idiot when I was young. I don't think that I was exceptional or anything... I was equal to my peers, but I just remember shit being really normal... I don't think I realized at the time how stupid we were.
I think that I was interested in the same things that I am now, but I was entirely more optimistic about everything at the time. Bear in mind, I was a complete extrovert until my senior year in high school, and you wouldn't be able to pick me out of a crowd as the 'weird' one... I was always very popular and very well liked, and I made little effort to be such. That shift from being an extrovert to an introvert was caused by a shift in my optimism about humanity, but that's another topic... it just had to be mentioned so that you realize that I was a 'normal' kid... or I at least appeared to be one. I'm assuming that I was normal, but who's to say.
Like I was saying, I think my interests at the time were similar to what they are now, but my optimism colored things differently. In fact, I think that my perspective was pretty much the same back then too. I was direly interested in preparing for my future... always seeking creative endeavors, honing my skills, focusing on whichever chick I had a crush on at the time (yeah, I was into chicks since I was three), hanging with friends (which became less important as I became more introvertive), and uhh... there may have been something else, but nothing's really coming to mind. I was always quite aware of the limits of my understanding, and was always seeking to steadily overcome those limits.
Now, although I don't remember being a moron, I do remember being confused about way more things. I was unaware of so much, and knew this, but I don't see much difference between then and now. Things that others seemed to have a firm handle on boggled me... I was able to learn to do long division, but I didn't understand its use at the time. Today, I was reading something about politics that others knew like the back of their hand, but it was drawing from other simpler concepts that were foreign to me. There's still so little that I understand in life that I don't feel like I've really learned enough to consider myself grown-up. That could be one of the things that others learned that I never did... that once you reach a certain age, you've probably learned enough to think yourself to know it all... I don't see myself ever reaching that point.
My perspectives have changed greatly throughout my adulthood... my definitions of myself, the meaning of life, etc. have been like night and day, but I've always felt like the same person underneath all that. I just have a different window to peer out of... a different color of idiocy with which to paint the world. I'm well aware of the fact that I'm staring out of one such window right now, and I wouldn't be surprised if everything switched on me again. That's pretty much the way that I see my childhood... I was just 'me' underneath my ever-changing shell of limited understanding. Because the increases in my understanding tend to come in sudden leaps, I just don't understand the whole development process that humans have to undergo. When I talk to a kid, here's what I'm expecting to happen:
The baby points to the ball. "Ba-bah."
"You want the ball?"
The baby nods fiercely, "Bah."
The baby reaches its hands out toward the ball and smiles. "Bah!"
"You know, a better way to phrase that would be, 'Could you please hand me the ball?'"
The baby's eyes light up. "Oh! Thanks for explaining that. Yeah, I guess that formal English really would communicate my requests better than baby-speak."
"I've always thought so. Here's the ball you wanted."