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Tuesday, Mar. 28, 2017

Forever Young

Posted Thursday, November 10, 2011, at 7:50 PM

In the chaotic midst of packing things at my house this past week for a move into a different house across town, I happened upon a long-lost treasure of sorts. A home video from 1993. That's right...1993. For the sake of not dwelling on how old that makes me, I'll just go ahead and say I was 5-years-old in the video. There was nothing extraordinary about the video..it just showed my baby brother (who's not so much a baby anymore..towering over me at 6-feet, 6-inches), my older sister, and myself playing outdoors in a water/lawn sprinkler. The video goes on for what seems like forever; my sister and I showcasing our talent in what we dubbed "water tricks." This merely consisted of us attempting double axles in the air while running through the water, or the biggest trick...walking through it with our eyes OPEN. My brother, who was a little over a year old in the video, would run up to the sprinkler and scream at the first contact of water to skin. This would be followed by him running gleefully in circles.

Watching this video, I started thinking, "Wow..we were some strange kids. How could we be so entertained by something so simple?" I couldn't get over this idea. Watching kids nowadays, they are always buzzing around with some sort of new technology. The majority of them anyways. Even when I pay a visit to my nieces and nephews, you can put money on seeing them either surfing the web, playing video games, or teaching me how to play some newfangled game on their handheld Nintendo DS. Now, that's not to say that they don't play outdoors at all, or that I didn't play video games growing up. Ask anyone in my family and they'll tell you I was the go-to person to beat all the ghost levels on our Super Nintendo's Super Mario game. And if you got into a match of Super Mario Kart with me? Forget about it. But, something has definitely changed over the years. I really thought about this for awhile and came to conclude that maybe we weren't that strange after all. It all boils down to one thing: Imagination.

Imagination, whether we realize it or not, is a big part of our lives -- from beginning to end. I'm reminded of a show I watched as a child called "The Muppet Babies." It was an animated show with the cast consisting of the recognizable muppets, but as babies. There was Miss Piggy, Kermit the Frog, Gonzo and Fozzie Bear, among others. Each episode took the viewer on an adventure to far-off places all while the characters were still inside their nursery room. The characters used their imagination to explore and create fun while the nanny was away. This was always one of my favorite shows as a kid and looking back, I can see how it helped foster/promote a sense of imagination and wonder.

Sitting there watching this family home video with my head slightly tilted to the side in confusion, wondering what on earth could be so entertaining about a silly little water sprinkler, I realized something. We, as adults, sometimes lose that spark -- that driving force that keeps us believing in the unfathomable. As children, we have what some like to call a "naivety" to the real world..or an innocence. Anything is possible and we throw all cares to the wind. As we grow older, and maybe a little more cynical, this notion sometimes starts to fade. Imagination starts out as a mechanism we use to create worlds that don't exist and explore all sorts of realms of fun. Then, as we age, imagination becomes a motivator to succeed and do well in life. How many times do you remember hearing in school, "If you can imagine it, you can do it," or how many graduation addresses are riddled with phrases like, "You can be whatever you imagine/dream and the sky is the limit"? The sky is the limit. The SKY is the limit. That's interesting in itself. As kids...there were NO limits to what we could do or imagine. But, as the years pass, there became limits. First, the sky..then the horizon..then so on and so forth. Sometimes, the reality of the world brings out a bitterness in us as we get older and we stop believing that anything is possible. That doesn't make us bad people -- we've just lost that sense of starry-eyed wonder.

Finishing up the video, a smile spread across my face when I couldn't help but think what my 5-year-old self would say to me today if I mentioned how I thought it was strange to be playing in the lawn sprinkler. Without missing a beat, I know I would've said, "Strange? You're the one that's dry and not having any fun. Weirdo."

So, I challenge you...to grow up without growing old. Next time the world and its troubles has you feeling down, throw the stress to the side and do something fun and random. Go on a treasure hunt, ride your bike down the steepest hill in town, and remember what it's like for a moment to believe -- to believe in having fun...to believe in everything. It all begins with taking that leap out of cynicism and into imagining. As for me? It may be turning colder, but as soon as Spring rolls around..you can bet I'll be paying a visit to the farm and home store. My purchase? ..a lawn sprinkler. :]

"I like nonsense, it wakes up the brain cells. Fantasy is a necessary ingredient in living, it's a way of looking at life through the wrong end of a telescope. Which is what I do, and that enables you to laugh at life's realities." - Dr. Seuss

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Nice blog!

-- Posted by localear on Mon, Nov 14, 2011, at 7:14 PM

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