On my fifth birthday, riding on the swinging garage doors, I wondered about life. I wondered about the essence of awareness of conscious existence. Why was there no connection between my awareness and that of others? What did existing entail? My first five years had only served to confuse.
I saw two sets of worlds: the world of myself as against all others, and the world of children as against adults. I never believed I would grow up. Not really. One thing worried me especially: would I essentially change as I grew up, or would the me of myself remain constant?
That afternoon by the garage on my fifth birthday I resolved to keep in contact with myself. From birthday to birthday. I promised myself on my fifth birthday. I promised myself to keep in touch with myself on every proceeding birthday. More times than not, I keep the faith. I re-familiarize myself with the five year old and touch base.
Not long ago I came across a letter written five years after that fifth birthday. It was addressed to the me of the future. It read:
Hello, How are you? What do you think? Have you changed?
Of course I’ve changed, and for the worse, as do all people growing up. Childhood is the age of innocence and wonder and faith in the infallibility of adults. Since my childhood my innocence has been tainted by knowledge, my wonder has been dulled by complacency, and my faith in mankind has been demoralized by observation. I can still remember the jarring shock I received when I saw an adult act in childish temper.
I feel somehow guilty that I have changed. It seems I should have kept the girl of five alive to a greater extent than I have. I make compensation to some degree on my birthdays, when I remember.