Many a time I’ve been asked, “just how old do you think you are?” and as my age amasses more years, I tend to try not to dwell on that! But what is really being meant here is – “grow up!” “stop being such a child!” It’s been something that I’m often told.
So, I guess I have to admit that yes, I am very much a big kid! I find myself being drawn towards the children’s animated films rather than opting for the darker, adult dramas – I justify this by saying that these are, in fact, family films and are meant to be enjoyed by all ages – and I do believe this to be true – but considering I have no children of my own, I have to confess to having seen a rather large number of these films!
I also enjoy fictional characters that are intended for the younger ones – I still utterly love the likes of Paddington Bear (a very sage bear if you ask me) and still remember with fondness such treats as Bagpuss, Mary, Mongo and Midge (who I proudly named my gerbil after), the Clangers, the Magic Roundabout, Andy Pandy – the list goes on and yes, if I had the chance, I would definitely enjoy sitting down for a nostalgic watch of some of these gems.
Further proof of my tendency towards young themes is my healthy number of teddy bears and other related cuddly toys – I have amassed a fair number to date and I certainly wouldn’t be upset to receive one as a present – which is crazy considering my age and how many I already have!! Naturally, they all have their own names and personalities, as bears do… Yes, I have to face it – I am just a big kid!
I’d like to think I have managed to grow up enough to be able to function in the adult world – work, home ownership, relationships etc. but I’d be lying if I didn’t admit to sometimes just wishing I could revert to childhood again.
After all, an ideal childhood should represent a carefree existence, where the biggest points of concern are whether you’ll make it onto Santa’s “Good List” this year, how many Easter Eggs you might find on your hunt around the garden, how long you’ll be allowed to play with your friends outside until you get called in for bedtime, what story you will be read tonight and what exciting adventures will unfold in next weeks’ episode of your favourite TV programme.
I appreciate that I’m probably looking back with rose tinted glasses and that every child has problems and difficulties – some very sadly more than others. Indeed, I believe that children nowadays have many more pressures to face and are plagued with mental health issues from a frightening young age – to be realistic, childhood does have its ups and downs and is different for us all – just as life is.
Going back to my juvenile tendencies – is it really such a bad thing? I do get the impression that there are a fair few people who believe that it is considered best to put away all your childhood trappings and enter into adulthood totally devoid of any immature leanings and resigning your childhood to the past.
I believe this approach to be a mistake – I think it’s a good, healthy thing to “embrace your inner child” as the phrase goes. There is nothing more delightful than allowing your imagination to wonder off into the fantastical, make-believe places that you can create – just try it – believe in Santa Claus; imagine there are friendly alien beings waiting to greet us; close your eyes and see the fairies giggling at you from the bottom of the garden – go on give it a try, you’d be surprised how much it can make you smile if you just let it.
Children are afforded such a wealth of fantastical, make-believe – and quite rightly so – but why should this all have to stop as soon as we enter into adulthood? Why can’t we still allow ourselves to be open minded enough to appreciate that there are many things in the universe that we don’t know about, or yet fully understand. If we accept this proposition, then we can accept that there are many amazing possibilities out there – both in the physical world and in the existence of that special place inside us, called our imaginations.
I’d suggest that our imagination is just like a muscle – the more we use it, the more it will grow, develop and broaden. It’s so sad that many of us feel foolish about allowing our imaginations to wonder; to conjure up a host of inspiration and delight – everyone can do it – you just have to let go of your reserve and give it a try.
Once you’re tapped into your imaginative process, then the sky (or beyond) is very much your limit. Of course, it’s also a means of escape – if the “real” world gets a little too gritty, then a trip off into the realms of your imagination can provide a refuge to brighten your spirits.
After all, we all do this when we are children – which means we all can – all we have to do is rediscover that ability to let our minds go off into the unpredictable realms of imagination.
I envy those who produce media for children – whether it be authors, film makers, presenters, actors, teachers etc – they are allowed to work in this fantastical world as adults – they have a “free pass” to be able to inhabit this marvellous existence, without being accused of immaturity.
So, for those who still maintain that it’s time to “grow up” and stop being such a child, I’d suggest they think again – where would you rather be – on an amazing ride underwater, with a friendly dolphin as your guide; or watching the cold, grey rain beating down in the depths of winter and feeling utterly fed up? I know which one I’d choose!
My plea to you is simple – please don’t lose all the magical, wonderful, infinite possibilities that exist right there inside your mind and remember – you’re never too old!