I have such fond memories of my childhood in China. The more that modern society advances, the more I miss the simple way of life that I experienced when I was young.
I miss the security that I felt at home
I lived in a simple house and we rarely locked our door at night, as no one worried about theft. We had no air conditioning, but depended on a cool breeze through our windows at night. I currently live in a bright and spacious house, but all windows are closed tightly and secured behind iron bars.
I miss my neighbors
My neighbors were like our relatives when I was young. If we had something good to eat, we shared it with our neighbors. If we needed help, everyone would lend a hand. I currently live in a building with many neighbors, and although we see them everyday, we don’t even know their names.
I miss a clean environment
One of my fondest memories as a child was to catch fish from a nearby stream, or to go to a farm to pick vegetables. I remember how fresh and delicious they tasted. The vegetables in today’s supermarket are large and nicely arranged, but no matter how many times I wash them, I am not sure if they are safe to eat.
I miss the safety of my street
When I was a child, we always played in the streets. There are so many streets today in China, but they are wide with many cars, which makes them dangerous for children.
I miss simple entertainment
When I was little, not every family had a television, but I often went to my neighbor’s home who had a new television set. We all sat and watched the small black and white screen, and had a wonderful time. Today, everyone has a cell phone and while people may gather together in one place, their hearts and minds are elsewhere.
I miss simple games
When I was young, my friends and I had many simple toys, such as marbles, little bags of rice, and rubber band ropes. Every toy would keep us busy all day long. Today, a cell phone can have dozens of online games and every household has just as many high-end eletronic toys.
I miss simple relationships
When my grandfather wanted to marry my grandmother, he was only required to have 10 pounds of rice. When my father married my mother, he was required to own a cow. Now, if a man wants to get married, he must own a house, a car, and plenty of cash. Love and marriage have turned into a business proposition.
I miss simple wants and needs
When I was little, I only had a few pieces of clothing and was happy to wear hand-me-downs. Today, I have a closet full of clothes, but I still feel that they are not enough or out of style. I miss the contentment that I had with just a few pieces of clothing.
I cherished many things during my childhood, but I am afraid that way of life is gone forever.
This story was written by Zhi Mo Wei Lan and translated by Yi Ming.