Have you ever stumbled across a hidden pocket of the universe? As a kid, I felt as though I was discovering them all the time. A blanket would become an elaborate fort, or castle, where I would reign over my kingdom. A cannonball into the swimming pool would become an underwater adventure with mermaids. A glimmer of sunlight through the trees was the tooth fairy, coming to pay me a visit. The entire world was my play ground- beautiful, unpredictable and without limits.
I guess you could say I was a pretty imaginative kid. But as I got older, this boundless perception of the world soon began to shrink. As I spent more time in school, and less time on the playground, I realized the world wasn’t exactly what I thought it was. I was the girl who took lessons in everything -from musical theatre to baseball. Some things stuck while others faded into the background, but through it all I discovered that with age came more responsibilities- and the price you paid was time.
When I entered high school my world shrunk even more. My “To do” list was filled with a varsity sport, AP classes, piano lessons and maybe a couple hours a week for a social life. I found I didn’t have as much time to do the things I loved- like art or spending time with my family and I certainly didn’t have enough time to be creative. I suppose this is the point I am trying to make. As children, our worlds are limitless; and as a result children have this incredible capacity for creation and innovation. They do not think in terms of what they have to do, they simply act on impulses of innate creativity. As a child, I probably spent 50% or more of my time on imaginary play.
I would argue that some of the most creative adults out there possess some of this raw, childlike imagination. Their abilities do not stem from genetics, or an innate sense of creativity- it starts in the way they choose to structure their lives. I believe that when you strip away the routines, the crippling “To-do lists” and the hours spent worrying – you can begin to step out of the confines of your self-made jail cell. Then maybe one day, you will happen upon those hidden pockets of universe you misplaced all those years ago, the treasures you buried beneath work, tests and routines. We need to strive for some of that fearlessness and spontaneity we lost- and rediscover the inner child in all of us.