What Don’t I Know

Over the weekend, I was having a polite little small talky conversation-in-passing with someone post-funeral. We started talking about seven-year-olds and what they’re like. I said something about how I’d like to be seven again for a week or two. To which the other person said, "And know then what you know now, huh?"

Now, I’ve heard this before, as have you. But it occurs to me that I have no idea what it means. I’m not sure what I know now that would help me at all at being seven (though I’m not so confident about the reverse). So, what have I missed? Is this statement just a bullshit cliche? What do you know now that you wish you’d known when you were seven?

(p.s. Our web connection is spotty at the moment — web bunny plea for help commence — so if you’re not getting a response from me, that’s why. Should be back up later, fingers and toes crossed.)

4 thoughts on “What Don’t I Know”

  1. I usually take this to mean “being able to fully appreciate [being seven].”
    This is less applicable to the example of being seven than to other situations. For example, some people might say this about being twenty. I take them to mean, “I wish I could be twenty again, and appreciate just how good I had it then, so I could take advantage of the opportunities available that I didn’t take the first time around, and not worry about the things that turned out to be so inconsequential later on, etc.”
    With the example of being seven, this makes less sense. For most people, there’s probably not a lot that they’d do differently given the chance to relive being seven. Either you were a happy seven-year-old or you weren’t; there was probably very little you could have done that would have changed it.
    So, basically, I take it to be similar to “If I had it to do over again” and “youth is wasted on the young.”

  2. Exactly. I doubt my own life as a 7-year-old could be much improved by the knowledge my now 28-year-old brain has accumulated, but I understand the sentiment. We all have moments, if not years, we’d like to relive, or at last have had happen differently.
    Of course, this ignores the sheer creepiness of a 7-year-old with the life experience of a 30-something-year-old…

  3. I find the whole concept troubling. It seems to me that bringing the extra knowledge would substantially change the whole experience of being that age so radically it’s something different entirely. Like those movies where young people end up in older people’s bodies and I just feel creeped out. (Good call, Fred.)
    I think you’re right on what people mean, Ted.

  4. I kinda hated being 7. Living according to the whims of irrational grown-ups sucked.
    I really, really wanted my own apartment. And I wanted to go to college and have a job and stuff.
    Maybe I was a strange seven-year-old.

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