Some call it thinking outside of the box.
Others call it daydreaming.
There are also those who call it a waste of time. Imagination, on the whole, is a vital part of life for many of us. Dating back to the beginning of humankind, the creative has always existed. Imaginative concepts are essential to those who consider themselves tied, in any way, to the artistic. You may paint, sing, write music, poetry, books, novels, short stories, or even just tell stories aloud, anything at all that causes your mind to wander away from the reality of the work week into a place that is all yours and yours alone.
I think that is why children fascinate me. When I was around twenty years old, I sat and watched my niece and nephew play together. They had action figures that were locked in fierce battle. My niece had a figure called She-ra and my nephew had one called Skeletor (we 80’s children recall those guys). Together, they were lost in the war that was taking place between them. I began to get up and walk away to tend to something else, something more adult, but something about their exchange caught me. So, I sat and watched and listened.
I then began to drift back to when I, too, had action figures, how I could not wait to run outside with the box of them to our large tree in the front yard on a hot summer morning to ready my figures for battle – good versus evil. I never knew who was going to win. I just let it play out. Sometimes He-man would win, other times Skeletor. Of course, good always triumphed – eventually.
As they continued to play, I wondered what had happened to my imagination. Why would picking up an action figure in my adult life make me feel silly and infantile? Who knew? I shouldn’t have felt that. As a matter of fact, today I think all adults should have playtime. It was at that moment that I told myself that I would never grow up. Of course, this was not to say I intended to shed responsibility or my grown-up sensibility, but rather it was the realization that if I allowed myself to succumb to the pressures of adulthood, I would lose a part of myself that I simply was not ready to give up.
I hope that in my life, in your life, that we can always find the time to dream, to speculate about things bigger than we are, to feel small. These things are important and more significant than you know. I encourage each of you to pick up a Barbie and send her on a date, or to grab a coloring book and doodle away, or plug up a Lite-Brite and take off (Lite-Brites ROCK!). If you have children, ask them to play along with you. You’ll be glad you did, and their energy will feed into your own imagination. Encourage them to dream, no matter how silly you think that dream is.
Please, for at least one hour a day, shed the mortgage, the career, the illness, the bills, whatever you have resting on your adult shoulders and simply…be. Be young. Be agile. Be happy. A wise man once said imagination is more important than knowledge. I think you know who it was. I think he was right.
Create your own world…never grow old.