One of my favorite stories is about a boy. A little boy with big dreams. He is fearless, and vibrant, and he lives his life completely in the present—with no regrets. J.M. Barrie’s Peter Pan is a story about a little boy who never wanted to grow up.
Peter Pan’s world is a magical place filled with pirates, and indians, and fairies. But his home in “Never-Never Land” is so far from normalcy that it can only be appreciated by young children. Because children, unlike most adults, can allow their imaginations to take them beyond the limits of reality.
When I was a little girl, I would spend hours playing make-believe. I transformed catalogue Halloween costumes into elaborate princess gowns. I was Willowette, Princess Fairy of the Forest. My best friend and I would go on perilous adventures in our backyards—fighting evil witches and marrying gallant princes. Now I spend hours in my room, doing my homework.
I go to a high school of kids focused on the future. At my school, kids drain themselves working for piece of paper. An invaluable piece of paper that could determine the rest of their lives. The College Application. I know kids who can only get three hours of sleep after they finish their homework, and kids who spend three hours every night working at their jobs. I know kids who don’t have time to go out with their friends anymore. I confess: I let myself become one of those kids—kids who are always scrambling for an extra thirty minutes, struggling to come up for a breath of fresh air. We are a high school of kids who are in too much of a hurry to grow up.
But what if we could think more like Peter Pan and his “lost boys”? Would our lives be so much different if we could learn to slow down? Because we only have one chance at life, and one childhood. If we could learn to wake up and inhale each day with all of our energy, our lives could be so much more alive. We don’t have the option to never grow up. All we can do is try to enjoy being children while we still have time. But, until that time runs out, I will believe in laughter, and dreams, and stomping in rain puddles. And I will always believe in fairies.
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