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simont

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Mon 2014-10-13 10:42
Childhood predictions

A random childhood memory of mine is of being about 10, and wondering what my life would look like when I was grown up and didn't live with my parents1 any more.

At that age, a thing I was enjoying doing in my spare time was making cardboard models of polyhedra. And I remember having the thought that once I was a grown-up, perhaps I might still feel moved from time to time to sit at home cutting and folding and gluing cardboard, but since I wouldn't be living with family any more, there'd be nobody else to show the things to once I'd made them. I found that thought rather upsetting, and started to think that perhaps being an adult wouldn't be very nice; I had an image of myself spending my life sitting in a house on my own, with nobody to talk to, and even the ways I was accustomed to amusing myself on my own not being as much fun as they used to be.

It was only a passing thought; there were clearly lots of things wrong with it, several of which I spotted fairly soon, so it didn't continue to worry me for very long. But it stuck in my head well enough that even now I can clearly remember having been worried about it once.

During the weekend just past, I put a fair amount of effort into helping [livejournal.com profile] drswirly design and make a cardboard cube with group theory notation all over its faces, for maths-teaching purposes. There were enjoyable coding challenges involved in writing the program that put all the right notation in the right places and printed out the net; when it was finished, we looked at it and went ‘ooh!’ (because it's quite pretty), and it will also come in actually useful to him and possibly to other maths-type people. And then he rewarded me with cake.

At times like this, I feel an urge to travel back in time and reassure my 10-year-old self that he was wrong in the one part that mattered. I would tell him, it turns out you're right that you'll live on your own when you grow up, and it turns out you're also right that you'll still make polyhedra every so often, but notwithstanding your pessimistic analysis it will still be great fun.


1. (Hmmm, I nearly wrote ‘didn't live at home any more’ there, which made sense in my head but once written down it's clearly a contradiction in terms!)

[xpost |http://simont.livejournal.com/241053.html]

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[personal profile] sunflowerinrainMon 2014-10-13 10:22

There are always appreciative people to show things to and share things with, even if sometimes you have to go and find them.

Now then, where are the photos of the pretty? Want to see!

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[personal profile] simontMon 2014-10-13 10:55

Sadly I don't have a photo of the physical cube (and I don't have the cube either – [livejournal.com profile] drswirly has got it, so he'd need to take any photos). But I can at least show you the net that makes it: http://tartarus.org/simon/20141012-groupcube.pdf

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[personal profile] sunflowerinrainMon 2014-10-13 21:39

That's pretty, too.

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[personal profile] kaberettMon 2014-10-13 12:33

<333

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[identity profile] aiwendel.livejournal.comMon 2014-10-13 10:34

That is very cool! :-)

Also interesting that you childhood self didn't imagine you with a partner and children (ie mimicking your parents)...

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[personal profile] simontMon 2014-10-13 10:37

Yes, that struck me too!

I have no memory of why my 10yo self made that assumption. I'd have to guess that it was simple failure of imagination – I'd worked out that the people currently living with me would no longer do so, but completely forgotten to imagine that perhaps other people might.

On the other hand, his assumption there did turn out to be right, so perhaps he had a good reason that I've forgotten :-)

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[identity profile] aiwendel.livejournal.comMon 2014-10-13 10:49

mmm it's interesting. From an early age I was observing my parents and saying 'when I grow up I'll ... ' with regards to my imagined children. One example being 'let them eat a WHOLE cake raw' (aged 11) my mother smiled and said she'd thought that too when she was a child, but as an adult now recanted. And of course, as an adult, I would not let a child eat a whole cake raw! Ah well...

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[identity profile] naath.livejournal.comMon 2014-10-13 10:53

As an adult I always lick the bowl when I make cake... but I haven't yet actually eaten all the mix instead of cooking it; I think it might be a bit too much.

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[identity profile] aiwendel.livejournal.comMon 2014-10-13 11:05

yep I still do that :-)

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[personal profile] lnrTue 2014-10-14 16:08

Hmm, I might let Matthew try it if he asks - not that we've tried baking with him yet. I suspect he'd get fed up part way through :)

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[identity profile] woodpijn.livejournal.comMon 2014-10-13 12:46

Yay, that's very cheering. :-)

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[personal profile] lnrMon 2014-10-13 13:54

Awww!

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