A World of Pure Imagination

February 17, 2014 at 9:25 pm | Posted in Life and Living | Leave a comment
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Sitting on the floor of my brother’s apartment, I play with his son, my nephew.  Just shy of 3 years old, he’s so smart.  He mimics everything I say.  He loves to play with toy cars and trains.  He knows all the types of cars he has — mail truck, fire truck, dump truck, everything.  I watch him and can see his imagination running wild, and I yearn so badly to feel what he is feeling as he learns all about the world.

As a kid, it is so easy to use your imagination to build a world around you.  From role playing, to building forts, to creating families and characters  with dolls and creating different situations for them to tackle.  We play games, pretend to be airplanes, are afraid of monsters under our beds.  Our world in reality may be small, but in our imaginations, the world is full of endless possibilities.

As we get older, we stop playing these games and our imagination morphs into something else.  I was into witchcraft as a teen and after seeing The Craft and Now & Then one too many times, I kept a spell book, read tarot cards, held seances in the nearby cemetery.  I was going to bring Judy Garland back from the dead.  When I wasn’t being a witch, I was dreaming of boys and my future husband. Who in my class would I marry?  The world was small, still, and I was still shielded from life’s harsh realities.

I didn’t know what I was going to do with the rest of my life, but I was a writer. I was a poet.  I was going to somehow make my name known to the world with my words.  The pain that I felt between the real life tragedies and the teenage dramedies I created, I had something to say.  It is in my writing that I am able to connect back to the imagination that lives deep down inside me.

I know it is there.  We don’t ever lose our imagination, but the realities of life put a damper on what we think is possible.  We see obstacles, timelines, responsibilities, impossibilities.  All of those silly ideas we had as kids seem so unfathomable.  We lose the optimism that comes with having a great imagination.

It is true that there are some things we cannot control. This is something I have to remind myself of everyday.  But my fantasies, my dreams, my imagination, these are the things I try to push to the forefront.  Because a world without imagination is a world without light.

Responsibility — What’s that?

February 10, 2014 at 5:39 pm | Posted in Friends Then and Now, Life and Living, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Growing up, I was never much of a trouble-maker.  I was certainly not a goody-two-shoes, but I was never sent to the Principal’s office, never grounded, and never arrested.  I found the balance in having fun without completely breaking the rules.  Sure I trespassed, cut class, snuck out of the house, drank underage and all the typical stuff, but I typically did what was expected of me — I was an Honor Roll and AP student.  I also had fairly lenient parents who were more likely to make me feel guilty than to punish me.  Disappointing them and telling them when I was in trouble was always much worse than any punishment was.

I think this is why I had a great reputation with my friends’ parents.  Many of my friends would often use me as their safeguard when they wanted to go out and do something their parents didn’t approve of, whether it was staying over at a boyfriend’s house or going to a club.  I was mostly open and honest with my parents about my activities, so I had few restrictions as long as I was careful. For my friends, they needed someone their parents could trust to help them save face.  I became that person early on — the “responsible” one.  My friends may find this laughable, but I was playing a good game.

When I got to college, I was fairly advanced in terms of teenage vices.  While several of my new friends had not yet drank or been intimately active, I was ahead of the curve.  I wasn’t an expert drinker in the least but I was always very good and pretending to be sober when I needed to.  I could hold myself together pretty well. I had learned early on from my mistakes.

These skills have come in handy throughout my life, and to this day when I go out, I always know when it’s time to go.  But responsibility only gets you so far when others are involved. Somehow others have not developed this same sense.  In my mind, nothing good happens in a bar after 3 am.  This is when all inhibitions are lost and if you are lucky the worst that happens is you end up in the bed of a guy who has a giant tattoo on his back that you somehow didn’t notice the night before.  But the outcome could be much worse than that.

I may sound like an old person when I say this, but look how long I’ve survived.  There is definitely a way to balance being wild and adventurous with a sense of responsibility.  Maybe one day others will catch on, but maybe not.  Whatever works for them, but I’m happy to play the role of the “responsible one.”

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February 4, 2014 at 4:34 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Today I will walk the dog, go to work, then school, then come home.  My husband will pick me up from the train since it will be a late night and my dog will greet me as he always does — with more joy and excitement than people running for free food.  A typical day in the life of a 9-5er, with one difference.  Today is my birthday.  

Today I will hear from many people, some who I haven’t heard from in many years, perhaps who happened to catch on their Facebook events that today was my special day, perhaps some remembered today was the day from our history together, perhaps they will see this post and respond. Whatever the case may be, all outreach will be with good intentions and well wishes. Happy that I’m celebrating another year on this earth.  It will warm my heart as it does each year just knowing that I haven’t been forgotten and that people, at some level, care about my well-being.

And maybe that’s just what I need.  Maybe my birthday will be a chance for me to get back in touch with myself and my self-worth. Somehow, maybe, this will reignite the fire in me that keeps me striving for more but has been dimmed many times.

In reviewing my birthday post from last year, I found some thoughts that still resonate with where I am today.  I am still experiencing this “now what?” moment.  I have been putting a lot of pressure on myself to make things happen that are beyond my control. As much as I know I can’t control everything that happens, I can’t help but watch as the plans I laid out for myself, the goals I intended to reach, now have additional hurdles placed in my path. I’m discouraged.  I’m starting to doubt myself and what I am capable of.  It’s not fair. None of it is.  That lesson is something I review time and time again.  Sometimes opportunities don’t present themselves to those who deserve them.

But that doesn’t diminish all the good. That doesn’t diminish all that I have achieved.  That won’t stop me from continuing to achieve, dream, and try.  I need to not be so hard on myself.  It may not all be going the way I had planned, but if I let it, it can be something even greater than what I expected.

It all starts with me.  I have to break through this.  I have to get back to writing.  I have to keep smiling and laughing.  I have to keep living. I have to recognize opportunities that may look different than I expected.  I have to keep hope alive and have faith.  I have to loosen my grip on control.  I can’t control the fact that I’m getting older, but I can control my perspective on it.

It’s okay to be a little lost. It’s okay not to have a plan or for that plan to go awry.  It’s okay to take it as it comes.  It’s important to be happy, to not take things too seriously, to not take things personally.  These are the things I will keep telling myself as I wander through this strange and unfamiliar part of my life.  I will explore, I will try, I will fail.  I will get back up again. Every time. And smile.

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