Is that really a good idea to try to relive our childhood experiences as adults?

Estimated read time: 3 minutes

We’ve been having an interesting discussion at home. A friend from Germany posted on Facebook that they visited an island for vacation that  I also visited during my childhood with my family.

Just him mentioning the name of the island and posting a few beautiful photos brought back memories of my experiences there. Now, you have to remember this was probably before I turned 12 or so – so almost 30 years ago.

Most of the memories were positive, adventurous and memorable. In fact the one Facebook post prompted me to talk to my mom about what if we all take a vacation to that island in the North Sea of Germany? Of course there are a couple of problems with that idea:

  • It cost a lot of money to fly a family of four to northern Germany from the United States. Most likely I’m looking at a cost of US$6000-US$8000. That’s for airplane tickets only.
  • When you try to relive childhood memories they never turn out the same way as you remember them.

The simplest example that comes to mind is when I watch some of the shows I used to watch when I was growing up. I remember them to be so awesome and they look so great and comparatively with today’s high definition shows they just look  not so good.

Related: Reliving your entire childhood

As you can see in the article above, trying to relive our childhood experiences does have a place and it causes emotions but they’re not the same emotions as the ones that the initial event caused. Typically visiting places that have a strong childhood connection just makes me feel old, the place doesn’t feel exactly the same it did back then. Sometimes that’s not super positive towards the place. 

We’ve all lived plenty of stories throughout our lives and sometimes when we try to go back to the places where they originally happened the memories don’t hold up with the current look. 

And then of course the cost is kind of disproportionate considering what else you could do with it. So for example if I would fly my entire family to northern Germany for $8000 and then still have to pay for the hotel and other costs on top of that I could find much cheaper options elsewhere. And maybe even better newer memories.

It probably all comes back to how we view and remember stories at different stages in our life. For example, I always thought the trip to northern Germany took forever. Hous. Probably eight hours. Or longer. It took forever to a 10-year-old. But in reality it’s only a three hour or so drive from where I grew up.

So it’s really all about the perception at the time and our mindsets at the time and of course our maturity at the time. So today’s reality is competing with that recollection.

So where is that fine line of decision-making? Should we go back to the places that hold great memories from our childhood or not? I was just looking at the pictures from the article linked above and it was kind of emotional to look at the pictures again. But I’m also glad I have them and I’m also glad I went on that walk to kind of relive my childhood in  a couple hours walking.

So it’s probably a mix – like most everything in life. I would encourage revisiting the places that have meaning when we were growing up-especially when we haven’t been for a while. But keep in mind that the memories experienced today – years or decades later – are likely not the same as the ones we remember.

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