The list of what people would do if they could start over as a kid again would be a long one. Some would choose to be more outgoing in high school. Some would practice the piano daily like their Mothers had asked. Some would cherish the limited time they had with certain loved ones. I guess this isn’t a fair poll because as we get older our priorities shift, and as much as I’d like to go back and practice the guitar every day and kick Matt Carlson in the balls for being a dick every day in middle school, that’s not what I’m looking for. To get where I wanna go, we have to travel WAY back, to when I was a child and magic was everywhere.
The following will seem cliche, because it is, but it’s kind of important to my point. As I get older, experience more and travel the world, I realize how small it really is. We have a short amount of time on this planet and as the days tick by, reality and stress seep deeper and deeper into my daily routine. Work, politics, life decisions put an incredible amount of weight on me that if I were approached with the opportunity to go back and do it again, I’d ask to get sent back to when I was very young, not so I could be more popular in high school, but to just enjoy the magic of being a kid again.
When I was little anything was possible, and I’m not saying reaching for the stars is bullshit or anything like that. This world is full of opportunities to advance and grow, but it’s what I left behind that I miss the most; the magic behind the possibility that anything could happen. As we grow our opportunities funnel down to realistic goals and ideas. The dream of playing college football died when I couldn’t pack on more than 160lbs in high school. But that dream was alive and kicking when I watched the SC football team run out of that tunnel when I was 10. My goals of being a doctor, an astronaut and a toy maker are slipping from my grasp everyday…well, maybe not the toy maker, but I would be, “the old guy,” in the basic classes of the other two.
I miss watching an adventure movie and thinking that finding that lost temple was still possible, that it was out there. I’d dream about exploring it. I’d practice my expedition in my best friends backyard. I’d make lists about what I’d need to bring and who I’d take with me. I’d fall asleep wondering how much it would cost to rent a seaplane and a Sherpa. Now I toss and turn worrying about what I need to get done at work or how I’m not where I want to be with my acting. How do I feel the magic again?
It’s usually a smell or taste that smacks me out of my day and brings me back to being a kid, or that quick flash of nostalgia that follows a fall breeze, reminding me that Halloween and my birthday are on the horizon. I love that, and speaking of horizon, that last hour of daylight, the magic hour, always instills a feeling that, that moment, more than any other in the day, is special. The shadows get longer. The colors get deeper. That bland overhead lighting we’ve been dealing with all day finally get’s the chance to show what it can really do. Perfect for taking photos, and my favorite example of this is the first photo in this post; a shot I took at the end of the day at the Socal Renaissance Pleasure Faire.
When I was young good always triumphed over evil. Every story was a blueprint for a larger unknown world just waiting to be explored. I know this is why I gravitate towards fiction, specifically fantasy/sci-fi for my pleasure reading. After a long day the last thing I want to read about is someone else’s long day. I want to escape; the way I did when I was a child.
Forests have always freaked me out. Ever since I saw Watcher in the Woods they’ve made me nervous, and that was a Disney movie people! A film that still puts a shiver down my spine every time I see a forest access sign. But that’s not all. Trolls live in the forest, and I’m not talking your average, run of the mill, bridge troll. I’m talking the big, eat you, grind your bones kind. Fairies, Elves, Ghosts, Witches, caves and forts, they filled the forest in my imagination. Now, I’m a little more aware of the realities of an afternoon hike and there’s a better chance I get mauled by a bear or shanked by mountain hobo than coming across a grove full of trolls, chaotically devouring their afternoon meal (yes my trolls can be out in the sun), but is that better? I think I’d rather face the trolls than the deranged, stabby prone, hobo rambling on about his lost gold mine.
Whatever it is, a story, a picture, the way something out of the ordinary captures your attention, brings you back to a simpler time where anything was possible. That’s magic. As I get older I realize that I have to look deeper to find it. It may even require me to act a little childish every once in a while, and be a little naive. I just hope the people around me understand that that’s what it takes sometimes for me to relax; to be a kid again and find the magic in life. Go beyond what we’ve filed our everyday life down to be and dream a little bit.