June 5, 2012
Imagination Out of Focus
When I was really, really small, I was very imaginative. I thought the world was limitless. I could very well convince myself that a purple polka-dotted elephant could go to the moon on a flying building or that a bird could realistically deliver babies to awaiting parents. Then, when I turned seven, I found out that most of the kids in my class believed in Santa Claus. I didn’t know who this man was, and was very surprised to find out that he was the person who supposedly gave me my presents. I told my fellow classmates that that was impossible because I knew that it was my family who gave me my presents, not some fat man in a red suit who went down my chimney. I didn’t even have a chimney. My classmates looked at me in horror, promptly telling me that Santa Clause was real because their mommy and daddy told them so. I was unimpressed by their argument and told them as much. I guess you could say I really started losing my imagination when I told them that their parents lied because it was virtually impossible that one man could deliver so many presents to so many children all over the world. The demise of my childhood imagination was really made clear when I was baby-sitting three of my cousins. They were so carefree and wild. After eating dinner, I asked them what they wanted to be when they grow up. “I’m going to be an astronaut and see all the stars and planets in outer space!” “I’m going to be a vet! Animals are so cute!”
“I’m going to be the president of the United States.”
The last one who answered me was a small, six-year-old boy who was surprisingly confident in his response. I smiled and told him that he could be whatever he wanted. But then I immediately thought: what if I’m filling him with false hopes? After all, it’s not very probable that he actually would become the president. Reflecting on that moment, I wonder why I was so quick to think that my cousin, with...