This I Believe

Ayla - Minnetonka, Minnesota
Entered on September 15, 2006
Age Group: 18 - 30
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I believe in an everlasting imagination filled with mermaids, female presidents, magic carpets, and exotic adventures.

Growing up, I would beg to hear my mom’s Penelope stories. My mom’s imaginary character, Penelope, stood at four foot, eleven inches; her smooth, gray hair was always in a perfectly shaped bun, and she had the biggest heart of any grandma in the whole world. This 72 year old had more energy and spunk than anybody I knew.

She lived in a small neighborhood. Since she had no children of her own, she would take all the kids in the cul-de-sac on day adventures. Penelope and her neighborhood friends toured Jupiter, visited European art museums, and built homes in Kenya. The boundless scope of these adventures opened my eyes and ears to the entire universe.

Penelope was the outlet to my dream world. I was a doctor, the first female president, the inventor of the cancer cure, and an Olympic gymnast. These playful stories nurtured my ability to dream and instilled my conviction that there is no limit to life’s opportunities.

It is said that kids have the most vivid imaginations. As you get older that magical world dwindles. This describes today’s society where children mature too fast. In seventh grade, kids engage in oral sex. In eighth grade, they experiment with drugs and alcohol. Given these realities, it doesn’t hurt to act like a child in a world that grows up too fast. People need to keep their spark of imagination lit.

My mom no longer tells Penelope stories. Her imagination has been locked up in a closet since my parent’s divorce and her need to fully support the family. She has forgotten how to tell Penelope tales and now lacks the energy and time due to her demanding job that keeps her constantly traveling. Yet, I hope I can remind her of the Penelope days and reignite the creativity that resided in her.

As I start my college journey and the kind-hearted Penelope has now become memories of the past, I will strive to remember that boundaries are often self-imposed. I need to continue to create my own adventures. I aspire to never become too wound up in my work that I forget to let go of my worries and forget to dream. Once in awhile, we all need to act like a child again.

I believe in the everlasting power of the imagination that frees one’s creativity, fosters ambitious career goals, feeds the feeling of childlike awe, and nourishes the soul with countless adventures.