What Doesn't Kill You Makes You Stranger

Old and Jaded at the Aquarium January 19, 2018

You know how when you’re little you think everything is big and bright and shiny, and then you go back as an adult and realize everything is tiny and the paint is chipping?


When I was little, my great-grandmother lived near Boston. Every once in a blue moon, my mom would take us into Boston to play tourist for the day. My favorite place was the New England Aquarium. I thought it was magical! The cylinder tank in the middle was huge. The penguins were the funniest thing I had ever seen. That aquarium was the height of commercialized zoological conservation.

Then I went back last week, and here’s where my brain starts to hurt.

The aquarium was still cool, but small. The paint wasn’t bright. There were good exhibits but nothing above and beyond the norm. The penguins were still awesome, but penguins are always awesome.


I know the cylinder tank didn’t get smaller, but for the rest of it, I’m not sure.

Did the aquarium go downhill over time, did I grow up, or did I get travel jaded? Is it a combination of all three?

I’ve been to the National Aquarium in Baltimore several times over the past few years, so my expectations of aquariums are definitely higher than some peoples’. I’ve also been to a Ripley’s aquarium and a fancy one in Thailand. Has seeing all those wonderful things increased my expectations beyond what can be met?

Have budget cuts simply prevented upgrades so the wonderland of my childhood has been slowly decaying? Do we need to campaign to save the New England Aquarium?

Or am I just plain ole old and jaded? Have I lost the ability to find wonder?

These are the questions that plague me while I pet stingrays.

Have I petted too many rays? Is it time to give up the ray-petting game?

While I ponder the petting paradox, don’t forget to enter the Rafflecopter to win a free Kindle Fire!


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