Overcoming Obstacles through Imagination

James - Crockett, California
Entered on May 2, 2008
Age Group: 18 - 30
Themes: creativity, hope
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I believe in a simple thing: the power of my imagination, which has helped me overcome many of the troubles I have experienced. New situations in life almost always produce some anxiety in me. I have found that by using my imagination I can experience some of what will happen during the new situation and in that way lessen the anxiety I feel. In addition, using my imagination, I have also learned many truths about life. I can’t know certain things about life, like the future, but, with my imagination, I can go forward into the unknown and learn valuable truths.

When I was growing up, playing games with my sister was a big part of my life. The games I loved the most were the ones that involved us using our imaginations. I was happy playing cops and robbers or cowboys and Indians. I remember especially one time when we were playing a game with our friend, Grace. The game involved stuffed animals, and at one point, my sister decided she wanted to “kill” the character Grace was playing. Immediately, I felt sad that Grace’s character had to “die.” Later my sister felt the same way, and we begged Grace to allow her character to come back to life. Grace refused, saying solemnly, “When someone dies they stay dead.” At that moment, I knew the truth about death.

Many years later, I grew very anxious at the idea of starting middle school. The night before school started, I couldn’t sleep because my imagination was running wild. Legions of dire scenarios galloped through my mind. “What if I can’t find my classrooms? What if the kids don’t like the way I look? What if they tease me?” I kept tossing and turning on my pillow, as the dread of what might happen to me the next day grew steadily worse. Just before I was about to throw up because of sheer terror, I said to myself, “O. K., you know what the worst things are that might happen. Now what are the best things that might happen?” As I imagined all the good things that might happen on the first day of school, my terror slowly abated. I became less and less scared. I finally calmed down enough to fall asleep. By imagining all the good that could happen to me, I was able to get up the next morning and go to school cheerfully.

I believe that by using our imagination, we can chart a course into the future for our whole planet and help to insure that our children and our grandchildren have the best life possible. With our imaginations, I believe, we can see the healthiest future and if we are determined to make that vision real, we can create the best possible world.