“I don’t want to repeat my innocence. I want the pleasure of losing it again.”— F. Scott Fitzgerald
I saw this quote on Goodreads this week and fell in love with it. It seemed to touch some place deep inside of me, identifying a feeling I wasn’t even aware that I had. No surprise that it comes from one of my favorite American authors. Fitzgerald has been stopping me in my tracks since high school. Every time I think I understand him, I discover something new. (He, by the way, is among the many fine authors censors have tried to ban over the years. I’m celebrating these authors during this week’s Banned Books Week.)
I’m fond of my “no regrets” way of looking at the past. There are certainly choices I would change with the knowledge of hindsight. And, occasionally, I shake my head in wonder that some of my mistakes did not cause more injury to me or others. When it comes down to it though, all of my mistakes are part of what led me to the road I ultimately chose.
Likewise, I would never want to go back and relive my glory days. In fact, I’m kind of hoping my most glorious days are still ahead of me. When I hear people tell me that high school was the happiest time in their lives, I feel a little bad. I know what they mean, but I definitely don’t agree. High school was good, again molding the choices I would make in my future, but I don’t want to go back and repeat it.
But “the pleasure of losing it again” is another idea altogether. I would like to go back to the feeling of innocence I had as a child. I marvel at that sense of innocence in my own children. I don’t think it’s possible to enjoy the loss of it while it actually happens, so, of course, it’s a romantic idea to think of loss as a pleasure.
Just thinking about this makes me question, “What is innocence?” Is it the belief in endless possibility? Is it a fearless sense of good in the world? Is it unhurt? Is it unwise?
I like to think it is a time before we become jaded by the ways of the world. A time before we think about the ways we can get hurt or let down by others. A time when we truly believe we have all the answers.
I don’t want to turn back the clock, but I would like to own a sense of innocence once again.
What about you?