When I was nine or thereabouts, my friend Reese and I would spend hours drawing faces on paper plates. We were convinced we were going to make humanoid robots and we thought the paper plates could be their faces. We never got farther than these Crayola caricatures, but we never cared. Results were irrelevant. The fun was in the process. And we never doubted that, one day, we would have our robots.
Another of the deeply-held childhood convictions that I believed despite a complete lack of substantiating evidence was the belief that I could fly. I knew without a shadow of a doubt that, if I ran as fast as I could, then leapt into the air, I could spread my arms and soar into the sky. I never actually tried to levitate, but I knew I could.
I’m not sure when or why I stopped believing in the impossible. Perhaps, it was an inevitable consequence of growing up. Maybe, the aggregate effect of dashed dreams is that aspirations become regrettably “realistic.”
Never mind that I never made a robot, or couldn’t have flown if I tried, or that countless other hope-imbued convictions failed to materialize. Life was better when I dared to reach for the unreachable.
Today, I find myself torn between the seemingly irreconcilable world of imagination and the duties and obligations of adulthood. I wouldn’t want to go back to childhood. I enjoy the freedom and responsibility that comes with being old enough to make my own decisions. That said, I want to recapture the part of me that knew how to have fun on the way to not getting what she wanted. The part that basked in the process and didn’t care about results.