Imagine That

Cartoon by Alexis Hansen

Cartoon by Alexis Hansen

Hannah White, Op/Ed Editor

In third grade, my friends and I started a club called “Imaginary Life.”  We owned pet
dragons and were best friends with fictional characters.  Our lives revolved around our play-
pretend world, and our imagination was unstoppable.
Many can claim a similar childhood.  Princesses, Jedi, and ninjas raced across
playgrounds and throughout neighborhoods.  It didn’t matter that it wasn’t real – we were happy,
and we felt important.
Fast-forward to being “grown-up.”  We are absorbed in over-complicated, busy lives in
which we rarely take a second for imagination.  That’s not to say that we should continue to ride
unicorns or broomsticks as we might have as children, but does growing up really require the
destruction of imagination?
Society says that as we grow up, we should drop all our fantasies and don the robes of
responsibility and solemnity.  There is, of course, a time and a place for both of these.  But there
is also a place for imagination in today’s world.  Sure, the things we imagine as we age may be
different from our third-grade fantasies, but that does not mean we should abandon imagination
entirely.  As our experience grows, our imagination should, too.
Creativity is stifled as society tells us who we should be and what we should do.  We’re
told we will be happy when we do something society likes, but true happiness comes when one
imagines and creates something that never existed.  Imagination is what made us happy as
children, and it needs to be maintained.  Psychology professor at Xavier University, Eric Barrett,
wrote, “I’ve lost my creative edge. . . . I let life steal it.  My mind used to race with new ideas.
New thoughts. New dreams. I was constantly inspired to produce. But where once inspiration
flowed, my mind’s creativity has been replaced by fear, doubt, worry.”  This problem plagues
most of us as we grow up.
Look around.  Almost everything you see started as a concept, a figment of someone’s
imagination.  Someone had an idea and turned it into reality.  If people never imagine more,
where will we end up?  Improvement and evolution only come as people dare to imagine.  There
would be no form of entertainment without imagination and creativity, and there would be little
genuine enjoyment.  Not much good would come about if people never asked, “What if?” or
looked for new possibilities.
If we go through each day without any imagination, there is essentially no purpose to life.
We turn into mindless drones performing mundane daily tasks.  But we have the ability to
change lives.  It all starts with a dream.
I am told to discard my imagination and try to fit into societal molds, but I won’t.  I will
create – I will make music and crafts and stories.  What is life without imagination?  I am not
afraid to be called “childish” as I maintain imagination.  I am not afraid to find that child-like
happiness I once enjoyed.  I am not afraid to dream.  Are you?