Growing up every child has an outlet. A way to let their minds run wild.Their dreams explode into reality. A way to conquer their fears of the evil monster under their bed…By transforming into a cowboy with alien powers. Everyone close to me knows how much my life revolves around my imagination.
When I was nine I fell in love with my 1st edition hard cover copy of J.M. Barrie’s Peter Pan. A gift from my grandfather who always believed in “never growing up.” It wasn’t the best copy of the book. The spine was cracked and the pages yellow with water stains, but it was mine. My escape into a world that I felt I was already living in. See for me Peter Pan was a lot like my grandpa. Or my grandpa was a lot like Pan. I’ve never felt more alive than the days I spent with him searching the beach for buried treasure, Surfing the oceans of killer robot sharks and pirates in submarines.
PIRATES IN SUBMARINES!
When my life at home consumed my youth and spit it back out at me so abruptly…
I turned to Pan.
Pan the Man.
Life with him was always an adventure. My heart…full of hope and joy.It is like some people in this world forget why youth is such a blessing.Most of the time we grow old and find ourselves grunting the same phrase we hate to hear as a child…
“The youth is wasted on the young”
Sometimes we allow things in life to erase why life is so good to begin with. As kids we use so much of our minds to create these worlds that are just amazing.
We grow older and can barely remember them but when we do… all it remains is….A distant memory because we can never find our way back to our happy thoughts. We forget to fly.
When I lost my grandfather I stopped believing. According to him… according to J.M. Barrie…The day my grandfather left this world so did all of the fairies I no longer cared for. When you don’t believe in fairies they die. Your imagination fades and you can no longer soar. I forgot how to fly. For a while I grew up and no I didn’t remain in my happy place. Growing up in my happy place meant you turned into a pirate but you still belonged to this magical world.
If you haven’t guessed by now ….
My happy place was Neverland. I was overwhelmed with this world and honestly believed in it.
It was my escape.
It was my everything.
It was my happy place that held all of my secrets and happy thoughts. It held my life in its colorful palms and gripped it for I never thought I’d lose it. Then I did.
Like I said… we all grow up. I lost my ability to believe in happiness. To truly love something as much as I loved escaping to Neverland with my very own Pan. I became an adult in the real world and all of these things were just memories to me. Memories I could not get back to even when I tried to believe. Days when I desperately want to be someplace else. Days when I needed to be with him. I was truly a lost boy in my worst nightmare of a place called New Jersey. Facing the oh so evil villain by the name of LIFE.
They say once you decide to grow up you can never find your way back.
But I did.
Growing up doesn’t mean we lose what we loved as children. It just means we get to manipulate life with our wisdom and imagination. Wisdom is a gift we develop when we allow ourselves to grow.
I was lost and I will forever be a lost boy but I am back in my world. I found Neverland. I found a way back into my special place because my special place is where I am most content. I found Neverland in New York City on a rainy night.
She is as beautiful as I remember. The moment I got a glimpse into the eyes of my world I made my move. I made it mine. The colors, the smells, the thrill. It is a new adventure everyday as I learn how to be happy again. I find myself doing more of the things I love and what truly makes me happy.
Sometimes … sometimes.. I start to feel like I will fly. My fairies are blossoming again. The pirates are prepping for the biggest battle of all time. My lost boys are back and ready for games. Most of all Pan is back and he looks a lot like someone I know.
A lot like …. Me.
I grew into my hero and it took me finding my happy place to realize who I am. Neverland does that for me. It opens my eyes to so many amazing things. So I will take this moment to thank you Neverland.
Thank you for showing me what it is like to feel young…wild…and free. Thank you for defrosting my heart and allowing me to truly feel love. The ways I felt love as a child. You know when you love without fear. We grow up and only love with some of our hearts because we live in fear. Fear of it being broken.
But I am a true lost boy. I am Pan.
Pan fears no one. Pan fears nothing. So take it. My entire heart is yours and it is bursting with the light of wonders for you. You are my escape. You are my happy place. You are my shadow that I will most certainly cry for if I ever lose you. You compliment me in ways I could never appreciate fully because there aren’t enough words in the world to describe how thankful I am. I am excited that I get to see my pirates in submarines again when I swim.
I found Neverland and I am never going to forget.
You are my eternal childhood, immortality and escapism. I will never say good bye to you no matter where I go because…Goodbye means going away and going away means forgetting.
The one quote that stuck with me in the words of J.M. Barrie
“The moment you doubt whether you can fly, you cease for ever to be able to do it.”
I no longer doubt.
I IMAGINE… I BELIEVE IN ME… I LOVE.