Innocence seems to be a lost “art”. So many of us lose it as we get older. I know I hold on to it, stubbornly refusing to let it fade, like an old photograph in a forgotten album. Yet many toss it away, almost with relief. Younger generations, however…..have they ever gotten the chance to become acquainted with innocence at all?
I see innocence fading at younger and younger ages. For those my age, around my age, or older, we probably associate our loss of innocence with our first brush with death or trauma (Santa isn’t real????) But today in America, innocence comes and goes in the blink of a pre-pubescent eye.
Children are thrust into the adult world with hardly any, if any, rites of passage. I remember when I was a young girl longingly staring down the stairs while watching the “grown ups” at my parent’s party. I would run up the stairs if I thought anyone caught me taking a glimpse into the “looking glass” of ADULTHOOD. I truly remember thinking about how I couldn’t wait to be old enough to be considered an adult, yet knowing I had years to wait.
Thanks to cell phones, computers, Facebook, “Reality TV”, tabloids, the paparazzi, online shopping and more, the world, and everyone in it, is everyone else’s business. All is virtually laid at at the public’s fingertips for exploration and exploitation. The mystery of life, the magic of the first kiss, what sex looks/sounds/feels like, waiting for a phone call, the thrill of finding an answer after hours (maybe days) or searching for it through the shelves of the public library ——> gone. All can be had somewhere, instantly, and usually at a discounted price.
Emotions, personal issues, weight, sex lives, relationships, death, birth, sickness have all become statuses and if something happens in the news, the race is on for who can post it first. All is on display for “friends” to bear witness to.
Bras, men’s underwear are now considered outerwear and on display. Modesty and boundaries have slipped into the “that was so 1990’s” abyss (as if that was SOOO long ago). Time is fleeting, in the moment and action-packed.
Perhaps we are learning to shed some of our Puritanical hypocrisy, but ultimately, what is the price of losing our innocence as an individual and as a society? How will we evolve without the curiosity or eagerness to learn and seek answers? What will life be like when the mystery and beauty of it dissolves into the delete button?