I’m on an Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros streak, and during this streak I came across this song and the accompanying video. Isn’t it the cutest? It’s also terribly sad, of course; very bittersweet (much like High Hopes by Kodaline, which I also love). Anyway, that wasn’t what I wanted to talk about.
Let’s talk about imagination. It’s such a beautiful thing. It’s the stuff of dreams, of hope, of happiness. There’s nowhere we can get as lost as in our imagination, which is both a blessing and a curse. It’s not for nothing that many of the most famous quotes we know are about imagination:
Everything you can imagine is real.
Imagination is more important than knowledge.
Etcetera. All great people seem to agree that imagination is pretty much the coolest kid on the block and you better befriend that kid, or you’re going nowhere in life. Amen.
When I was a kid, before my sister came (when I was seven), and I guess maybe a while after that as well, when we’d go swimming, I’d always play by myself. This was due both to the fact that I was, and still am albeit less so, shy and bad at random socialising, and to the fact that I didn’t need anyone else to play. Rather, if there’d been other kids I probably would’ve had a much harder time diving into my imagination like I did, although I do remember playing superheroes with my neighbour at some point. But as it was, I could spend hours swimming underwater in the worlds that I created, full of adventures and people and mermaids and awesome. It was great, and I still mourn the fact that I can’t do this anymore at age 21 (and a long time before). Of course, technically, I could, but how often do I find myself alone like that in a pool or ocean, and even if that happens, my embarrassment would prevent me from having any fun.
Isn’t that the saddest thing? It’s one of the things I dislike most about growing up: There’s so much you can’t do anymore. Not in the sense of running around naked, care-free – although I suppose that’s also pretty great – but more in the sense of playing games and play-pretend and the wonderful books and shows and losing yourself in all of them. It seems like such an unfair trade-off to lose all that, when what we get in return is so… bland and colourless. I mean, I get that to a large extent it’s up to you to hold on to the kid in you, but I think it’s too easy to say that that’s really a possibility for most of us. Growing up means realising that nothing ever really changes, but that you still can’t do many of the things children do anymore, and accepting that. Growing up means letting go, and who really wants that?
This is now a much more depressing post than I intended it to be. I’m feeling a bit melancholic today, I’m afraid. Sorry for that. There’s hope, though. As much as you can, you can always hold on to the fun and games, the frivolous and unexpected, and the randomly, wonderfully awesome. I know I try. Writing’s also great for that. My favourite quote ever, which also relates to imagination, although not directly, sums it up perfectly:
Fiction gives us a second chance that life denies us.
– Paul Theroux