It is my firm belief that the happiest people are the ones who keep an active imagination.
You may have, at some point in your young life, been told to “Grow Up”.
The belief is that once you reach an older age that you have to keep grounded in the real world. You have to focus on important things like bills, politics, your 5-year plan, etc.
While you should, of course, focus on these things, that does not mean to let your inner child die. Look at a child that is playing pretend or actively using their imagination in some form or fashion. The look of wonder and joy is spread across their face. This is something that can be easily lost once you enter adulthood.
So, how do you not lose it? The answer is simple: Actively use your imagination.
Do something creative! Read a book, play a game, paint, do anything that causes you to delve into the depths of your imagination. Allowing your mind to create, wander, and wonder is the key to keeping your imagination alive.
A great example of this would be when you read a good book. You allow yourself to get sucked into the story. Every scene is playing out inside your head as you continue to read and when you look up at the clock, hours have passed without your knowledge. You know that feeling of not wanting to put a book down? That’s the feeling of active imagination use that your mind craves.
The key, however, is to know how to balance.
Think of the experience of diving underwater. Once you plunge in and begin to dive deeper, you can’t help but be amazed at how free you feel. It isn’t something that you would ever experience on land. At some point, however, you have to come back up for air. If you stay under for too long, you will drown. If you stay out of the water for too long, you begin to miss the experience of being underwater.
Using your imagination is a very important part of life, but you must also know when to come back to the real world. If you stay in your imagination too long, then nothing in life can be accomplished. If you stay outside of your imagination too long, then life loses its color and soul. Sticking to one extreme isn’t really living.
So, find your happy medium and tell those people that are telling you to “grow up” to “live a little.” The day that everyone “grows up” is the day that imagination dies. Let’s avoid that.