Imagination. One of the few qualities that all humans share, yet very few manage to retain throughout the course of their entire life. It is as though we are born with a finite supply of creativity, most of us blowing through it during our childhood years leaving us clinging to the dwindling stock that remains. That magical feeling of complete freedom that we have all felt at one point in our lives slowly dissipates with each passing year. I’m sure that I am not the only person who would give anything to go back to the days where the carpet was lava and a plastic big wheeler was really a fine tuned sports car in disguise. Imagination is the driving force of one’s creativity, where nothing is off-limits and everything matters.
In my childhood years I was a climber. Anything and everything could be climbed. Trees, fences, even my father’s shed was no match for my climbing expertise. Although I found the act of climbing a tree to be incredibly exciting, I was never simply climbing a tree. I always had a mission. Whether I had to escape from a monster (in the form of a friend) that was chasing me, or scout out a path to lead my troops to safety, I was always in control of what took place. That is what I believe to be the magic in imagination. It is like a personal movie, in which one has complete control over the entirety of the plot with absolutely no limitations. Sadly, people often lose the ability to conceptualize these scenarios once they mature into adulthood. But why is this?
Children are always learning new things, becoming familiar with concepts that once seemed so foreign. As we grow up, topics that didn’t concern us in our earlier years of life suddenly start to matter; so naturally we learn, gaining wisdom from the lessons that life has taught us. What we can’t comprehend alone we have others teach us, leaving us with an ever-expanding supply of knowledge to base our thoughts and actions upon. It is this knowledge that seemingly reduces our ability to imagine, clouding our childhood mysteries with concrete facts that we have found to be true over years of experience. No matter how strong a child’s imagination is, the decline of imaginative power is an inevitable aspect of aging.
Thinking more in-depth on the concept of imagination makes me wonder why our society doesn’t promote the growth of it more. Sure we are told to “think outside of the box,” but how many of our daily practices actually go along with this idea? Creativity is discouraged in many workplaces. Nowadays it is not uncommon for workers to be punished for showing their creative side instead of following the precise instructions they were given in order to accomplish a given task. Our constitution states our right to freedom of speech, press, religion, etc., legally allowing our full creativity. However, if we want to fit in with society we are told exactly what we should think or how we should act, and anyone who doesn’t follow these unwritten laws is immediately labeled an outsider.
Modern technology has created some of the most destructive killers imaginable. Not in the form of rogue super machines, these killers have covertly infiltrated homes worldwide, poisoning the minds of our youth while we openly welcomed them into our lives. They come in many forms, such as cell phones, televisions, and video games. These are the killers of creativity. No longer are the days of building a Lego castle with friends at a sleepover. Instead, children are more likely to play video games such as “Mario Kart” on their Wii, and although these games are highly entertaining, they lack in creativity and moral value. But aren’t these the exact principles we teach our children to live by every day?
Most people wonder how we can simply allow ourselves to lose such a rare and valuable way of thinking as we age. In reality however it is just a natural part of growing up. Life can’t always be nothing but fun and games, and eventually one must mature in order to perceive the bigger picture of things. Responsibilities set in and we all must eventually let go of our childhood imagination in order to reach the goals we have set in life. In no way does this mean that one has to dispose of their imagination completely in order to get far in life. Through writing one’s every thought and dream can flow onto paper in paragraph form creating any scene, character, or plot they can possibly imagine. It is an escape from the duties of everyday life, using all of the knowledge and wisdom acquired over many years to expand even further upon their childhood imagination. Quite possibly the most amazing part of writing is that it provides people a glimpse into the creative mind of another individual’s inner thinking.
If there is one word that best describes imagination, it would have to be unpredictable. With an infinite number of ideas to be explored, nothing is off-limits. It is this unpredictability that makes the concept of imagination so fascinating. Everyone is creative in their own unique sense, and it is the way that each individual interprets information that creates this distinctive frame of mind. Even in a single person there are countless variables which will factor into how they view the world at that instant.
Although we all reminisce in the days of our early childhood, recalling the vast imagination we somehow lost, it is important to remember that one never truly loses the ability to imagine. It may be clouded by rational thinking and the stress that accompanies our responsibilities, but it will always be there, waiting to be released. The most important lesson I have learned is that one should never limit their imagination, or let someone else tell them how to think. Expressing unabridged feelings through spontaneous actions is sometimes necessary in order to sharpen one’s imagination. When a person opens their mind using pen and paper, their imagination is set free into the world for all to see.