Are You Among the very Young at Heart?

Do you remember what it was like to be a kid?  I’m not saying a young kid; I’m talking about the magic age.

The magic age actually encompasses a very short time period of your life. This is what makes it so magical. You’re old enough to appreciate the world around you. You’ve spent years cultivating your imagination and now it bears fruit in that small time period right before middle or high school. There is a time where you’re too young, whether you haven’t picked up on hobbies, or you haven’t explored the world through books. Then there is a time when you’re too old. You move up in school, join school sports instead of parks and rec baseball. Maybe you get a part time job. The moment I’m talking about lies in the middle of these two areas.

This is the sweet spot. It’s the spot where we all believed magic existed. Our bikes were transports that could take us across the neighborhood or across the world. Our friends were part of our platoon. We did everything with them, thick and thin, and we grew into such friendships that adults forget they ever had. During this magic time a forest was place where wizards or trolls may lay, movies were things that were plausible instead of fiction, the decrepit house down the street wasn’t an eyesore, it was haunted, and unseen monsters roamed its halls.  Do you remember how the summer wind felt on your face then?  Do you remember how the last ring of the bell for summer break meant absolute, undaunted freedom?  The world was a place to be explored. We knew it was scary then, but when you’re in the magic moment it’s not tragic scary it’s wondrous scary.  How about the pool or the lake that was near you?  Not only was it an oasis of relaxation and a sanctuary of bliss, it was the possibilities it held. What was underneath the surface? Perhaps dinosaurs still swam beneath its depths. In the end that didn’t matter, our world was magic. It’s that time where you start to notice girls or boys. Not in any prurient way. It is innocent, you just realize that they no longer have cuddies and maybe they would be fun to hang out with.  We knew then that we were in a wondrous place where triumph and tragedy held themselves as standards for what is and what could be.

I often tell myself I will never forget what it means to be that age, in that magical state. It becomes harder and harder the further you go along. Your own parents or at least those in roles of responsibility tried to get you on the narrow path. They saw the scraped knee as an infection waiting to happen. They saw the house in disrepair as a testament to the lack of city funds. They watched the news and picked sides. We didn’t. We felt they were looking only at a small part of a gigantic map. But, little by little, we grow up. We get part time jobs. We get steady boyfriends or girlfriends. Then it’s off to college. Little by little we forget the magic that was. We forget the magic that could have been.

Don’t let this happen to you. I encourage you to use this spring and summer to look back on the magic that was. Whether you get it from a book, or by walking and thinking, or by just sitting in your favorite chair and closing your eyes, please don’t forget. The magic may have been fleeting but the memories of who we once were can help us become better at who we are now. The world is still wondrous; we just forgot how to look at it that way. The world still contains monsters. The world still contains wonders. Don’t ever think that you were “just a kid” though you were young you can argue that you at that age had the right outlook on life.

It’s something to think about. Please remember what once was. When bikes where transports and your summer was a wondrous and glorious thing.

It’s magic – never forget that.

“All of us have moments in our childhood where we come alive for the first time. And we go back to those moments and think, this is when I became myself.”

~ Rita Dove


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