It amazes me just how much of our formulation occurs at such a very young age. A lot of things amaze me.
When I was a young boy, we grew up in a fairly wooded setting with no neighbor friends. Before I was school age, I had a lot of time to myself. I was generally free to roam the property all day long. Somehow, I got the idea that creeks could not be private property, therefore, “stay on the property” meant that I could follow the creeks as far as my legs could take me. I made peace with this idea being the truth but was smart enough to not tell mom of my interpretation of the law. I was quite at home with myself wandering along, pondering this and pondering that. At the end of the day, after figuring out all the world’s problems and their obvious solutions, my much older brothers would get home from school. I really looked forward to this time of day because the house would get so lively and interesting.
I can’t imagine growing up the way many kids do today, going from one ball practice here to the next planned event there. I’m not saying that one way is better than the other, I just can’t imagine it. How do they have time to figure the world out? I do suspect that a five year old boy wandering a creek bed a mile or more from home today would end with police and social workers.
During my wandering and pondering, one of the world problems that a five year old had to figure out and find a solution to was the idea of mortality. Imagine somebody at the age of five being worried that his finite lifespan was slipping by.
I wasn’t quite as worried about dying as I was about the idea of ending existence and, in time, there being no evidence or remembrance that I had ever been here. The solution to this problem proved to be vexing. After all, I had managed to solve all the other world problems in my head, why was this one so stubborn.
Finally, the answer came to me. Everyone knows the US presidents going back hundreds of years. They get remembered! I have to become President of the United States! Problem solved, checked that one off the list.
Now, how to become president? Good thing creeks go for a long ways.