At a certain age, we all become “too old” for something. “Too old” to act like a kid again, “too old” to make stupid mistakes, “too old” to indulge in our guilty pleasures. And the one that really gets on my nerves? “Too old” to believe in magic, or happy endings.
As we grow and mature, we (hopefully) become more attune to the world around us. We learn that making money to keep a roof over our heads, clothes on our backs, and food on the table is nowhere near as simple as we once thought. In fact, it’s downright difficult. Finding a decent paying job, balancing friendships with our ever-growing mountain of responsibilities, and still making time for ourselves is a tricky slope to trek. One that often beats us down and forces us to brush off the dust in a whole plethora of interesting ways that we never would’ve thought possible when we were just little kids playing knights and dragons in our backyards. We learn to take things seriously; to become capable, upstanding members of society.
This should be a good thing, and in many ways it is. We are maturing; we see the world not as a plain black and white drawing anymore, but as a dynamic, living, breathing sculpture painted in a rainbow of irreplaceable colors. But, as with many things, there is a cost to this newfound knowledge that many of us don’t even realize we paid. In all of our efforts to lead a happy and successful life, we lose our ability to dream.
Suddenly, all of the fantastical fantasies we imagined ourselves accomplishing prior to stepping over the gleaming threshold of adulthood seem like nothing more than child’s play. Believing in magic is ridiculous, rather than liberating. Jumping into the unknown takes serious contemplation because we refuse to step out of our comfortable, if dismal and suffocating, cocoons. We watch the kids who play in the park across the street in wistful awe, wishing more than anything to go back to that time–when life was simple, yet exciting. When every turn of a corner was a brand new first. When a rickety and rusted jungle gym could transform into a majestic castle in the blink of an eye, or when a simple recess on the playground could be our most daring adventure yet.
Why does growing up automatically mean we have to grow old? Why can’t we take risks again, without all the constant analyzing and overthinking? Why can’t we work toward something better, even if it’s unusual, or unrealistic? Everything was a risk at some point because everything was once done for the first time.
I write to take risks. I write because I believe no one ever has to grow old if they don’t want to, no matter their age, or where they are in life. I write because it has taught me to embrace the unknown. I write because, in books, anything is possible.
Now, if only we could adopt that philosophy in everyday life.