Why Do We Stop Imagining?

“Everything you can imagine is real.” – Pablo Picasso

The young king awakens to a brisk winter breeze. The territory is calm as the battle ground has seized. As he opens the castle door, he is awakened by five feet of fresh powdery snow. He looks upon the snow covered land with septer in hand. The glow of the tip reflects into the snow as the sun shines on the face of a king who has successfully defended his land. He does know that hiding in the trenches are his enemies. Soon the rules of war will come forward as a new battle will begins, but not before the agreed seize fire of 100 minutes.

The king puts on his royal coat and walks to the stables to mount his horse and scour the land in search of survivors from his brave army. The land is quiet and only a soft breeze is singing in the air. As the king looks out into the distance, the site of trees and villages become brighter as the sun rises in the sky and a new day has begun.

Today will be great. Victory will be ours and our land will once again be free of tyrants.

I was the king of that castle. With a cardboard box, a wiffle ball bat, horse on a stick, a neighborhood game of hide and seek and a nice 12 inch snowfall, I was able to create a world of fantasy and vision. I was the king of my box and my septer would soon help me to become the next Mickey Mantle when the spring flowers arise. My castle would later store my old school books and the horse has been retired into the stables now disguised as a garage.

This is an example of the level of imagination that every young child envisions. Every day of a newborn’s life is a day of discovery and wonder. Each touch, smell and feeling is new and exciting. Youth is a time of evolution as we shape who we are by our surroundings and our ability to create whatever world we want.

There is a beautiful song by Jimmy Buffett, “Love in the Library” where he refers to the library as a place where you can be anywhere and anyone all through the pages of a book.

“I was the pirate, she was the queen
Sir Francis and Elizabeth, the best there’s ever been
Then she strolled past my table and stopped at the stairs
Then sent me a smile as she reached for Flaubert

Love in the library
Quiet and cool
Love in the library
There are no rules
Surrounded by stories
Surreal and sublime
I fell in love in the library
Once upon a time

She gathered her books, walked while she read
Words never spoken, but so much was said
You can read all you want into this rendezvous
But it’s safer than most things that lovers can do

Well stories have endings, fantasies fade
And the guard by the door starts drawing the shade
So write your own ending and hope it comes true
For the lovers and strangers on Bay Avenue”

Love in the Library

Jimmy the true modern day pirate gets it. Never stop dreaming. You don’t have to be rich to travel the world. You don’t have to be born into royalty to be a king. You can become the greatest legend of all time through the use of imagination and the passion to let yourself go.

Why do we stop imagining?

There are a many theories and opinions behind the phenomenon known as adulthood

1. Responsibility takes control of our lives with work, family, bills and schedules
2. Reality takes over as our thoughts move to mortality, war, crime, terrorism, and hatred
3. Our perceptions have been tainted and we are set in our beliefs
4. Society has deemed a level of maturity that we must adhere to and imagination is not mature enough
5. Jealousy or depression from growing older
6. We forgot how to imagine
7. Social class has determined our place in the bubble of life
8. To dream is to wonder. To wonder is to suspend reality. To suspend reality is to take us away to a world
that is so perfect it can only be created in our minds. Maybe that is too much to swallow.

We should never stop imagining and dreaming. When you are being interviewed and you get the question “Where do you see yourself in five years?”, your first thoughts are typically, “I hate this question” and then you answer the with what you feel the interviewer wants to hear. Maybe we need to re-phrase the question as “What are your dreams for the next five years?”

Perhaps the greatest sports moment of the 20th century should outline the true meaning of these words.

“Do You Believe in Miracles” – Al Michaels

One of the most memorable lines in all of sport and humanity. Spoken from the heart as the United States Ice Hockey Team made up of college boys defeated the greatest hockey team in the world who had once defeated the NHL All-Stars 6-0 and 14 days earlier defeated the same United States Team 10-3 at Madison Square Garden. It was a moment the brought a country frightened by recession and global turmoil back to its feet. It single handedly raises us up to a new level and gave us hope for a better tomorrow.

Herb Brooks, the coach of the United States Hockey team was asked about that moment and stated:

“I’ve often been asked in the years since Lake Placid what was the best moment
for me. Well, it was here.

The sight of twenty young men of such differing backgrounds now standing as one; young men willing to sacrifice so much of themselves all for an unknown.

A few years later, the U. S. began using professional athletes at the games; Dream teams.

I always found that term ironic because now that we have
dream teams, we seldom ever get to dream.”

Miracle – Final Scene

I don’t want to ever stop dreaming. I still believe the cardboard box is my castle and that yellow wiffle ball back is my royal septer and as long as I can be king of the land, I will never let my imagination rest. Without the ability to imagine, we would never achieve greatness and innovation.

If you ever feel like life is bringing you down and you cannot escape the darkness, just close your eyes and imagine a better place.

“Imagine all the people living life in peace. You may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one. I hope someday you’ll join us, and the world will be as one.” – John Lennon

One thought on “Why Do We Stop Imagining?

  1. I too hate that particular interview question and often wonder what happens to our bent for dreams and imagination. It’s one of the worst parts of growing up, feeling like you are only allowed “rational” thoughts.

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