What I miss about that age of innocence is the ability to be true to who we are and how we feel. Saying “I love you” came easy. There was no rule as to when or how it should be said or even who should say it first. It simply was a statement of fact. “I love you” did not mean losing face of any sort or that we needed to start planning a wedding or family. It meant exactly that. We loved each other. No games, no drama, no endless thoughts of “expectations” or “stipulations” or “what does this all mean?” Those three simple words came easier in my formative years than it ever has before. We want to hold onto that innocence, that wanton abandon and surrendering to raw emotion without fear of rejection or anxiety that it may be “too soon.” When we are young we tend to grab onto life with both hands, say what we see, express how we feel without fear of ‘messing it up’ or ‘not getting it right.’ As we get older, however, our minds store negative experiences, our minds tell us we need to protect ourselves from being hurt, our minds form thought patterns that create walls around our hearts by trying to rationalise and dilute our feelings. Our minds become plagued with thoughts such as “I’m not making that mistake again” “I’m not going to tell him how I feel because last time…” or “I’m going to play it cool this time because….” Many a relationship has failed because one or both parties have not been honest about their emotions. Too often we place too much emphasis on past experiences that prevent us from moving forwards into happiness. This applies to both men and women. We need to gain a little bit of that balance back. This does not mean being foolish and gushing all over the next man we take a liking to, but opening up our hearts to new experiences and people: to not let the past dictate how we act and remain true and honest about our feelings. Feelings are there to be expressed not imprisoned. When a child smiles or laughs it means they are happy. When a child cries it means they are unhappy. When a child hugs, cuddles or says “I love you” it comes as easy as the sun shines. There is a lot we can learn from children.