This I Believe

Russell - Animas, New Mexico
Entered on December 12, 2007
Age Group: 18 - 30

This time of year is amazing; with all of the lights, ornaments, and dreams swirling around. They’re all showing us how special Christmas is. One of my favorite traditions around the holidays is writing a letter to Santa. That’s right I believe in Santa Clause. I find that his presence allows me to continue being a child, even if just for a month. I suppose you could say that my belief isn’t necessarily in Santa, it’s more in the youth that his existence brings.

Why do we have to grow old? You would think, me being in college, this wouldn’t be on my mind. But it is, constantly. I’m not naive, I know we all have to grow up, but again I ask why do we have to grow old? I look around and all I see are “busy” people bombarded by the stress of their lives. They don’t have time to have fun. When did we decide that we have to spend all of our time at work? When do we take time to play?

Now as bad as adults not having fun, a kid not playing is even worse. I was watching a commercial the other day advertising a computer for toddlers. That’s right a computer for toddlers! The ad claimed to be teaching math, reading, and other “valuable” skills. But let’s call a duck a duck; they are educating children in order to introduce them into the workplace at a younger age. Maybe I’m old fashioned, but I don’t understand why children need to be able to read by age two, and do their taxes by age five?

Since my birth, my parents have encouraged me to play, use my imagination, and have fun. Even today at the age of twenty, my imagination is extremely active. I still consider magic to be real and that something might appear just around the corner. And why not? What harm is that belief going to bring me? I think that I derive more joy from such dreamy thoughts. Even though I know that there probably won’t be anything there, the possibility still looms.

Recently I was speaking with the dean of my college. Now this man is in his 60s and his office is covered with toys ranging from stuffed bears to small wind ups. Any time he has a meeting he seats everyone around a table. Usually you use the table to write on, not here. His table has a pile of toys right in the middle leaving little room for working. Dr. Catlett reminded me that playing relieves stress, and there’s no greater stress than at work. As I was leaving his office, I thanked him for his time and he reminded me that you can grow up without growing old. I never realized the wisdom in his words until today. We should continue to live our childhood and take time to play. Remember no one ever died saying I wish I had spent more at work.