Life Without Imagination

Running around with her nephew playing super heroes, dressed as Iron Man himself and equipped with fine Ninja Turtle weapons, she thought to herself, “This is what I should be living for.” She often lost sight of what she was pursuing in life, and why she continued with her day to day existence. You could almost say that she was constantly in an existential crisis, debating the pros and cons of returning to life with enthusiasm and a goal.

It was exhausting, and she used to frequently wonder if it was worth the effort any more. She knew that life was indeed worth it, and death is the lazy man’s out, but she needed times like these to remind her that she is not working towards a $100k a year salary, and she is not working in life towards a becoming the first woman President of the United States, but she was working towards being able to spend time with her family and those who she loves. Her efforts to eat healthier were not motivated by the latest media scare about what foods are bad for you, it was driven by the desire to want to go out to eat with her little sister and actually enjoy the rich, fine food placed in front of her. The decision to stop drinking alcohol was motivated by seeing that same little sister’s face destroyed with worry when she first saw her on a hospital bed, hooked up to IV’s because she was too dysfunctional to eat enough food and stop vomiting. Her choice to get healthy and stop smoking, was because she wanted to run around and play ninja without losing steam and having her damaged lungs show their struggle to her enthused and overjoyed nephew. She was someone that others counted on to be full of life, and smiles, and love, because that’s what she truly valued and cultivated in her life, and for her sake and for the sake of those she loves, she needed to get back to being that person.

She used to be the Queen of Pillow Forts, and proud of her title as head Architect. Her and her brother would construct fortresses out of her numerous stuffed animal toys, with various floor plans and strategic weapon firing holes built into their first line of defense. They would never encounter any attackers, at least in reality, but they were prepared for any circumstances just in case. They both put pride in their work, and would not let the tiniest detail slip their attention. All animals were perfectly stacked in harmony, and their structure would always be solid enough to take a hit from the enemy’s Nerf guns. Depending on the location of their base, they would create blueprints for a moat in addition to the high fortress walls they counted on to keep them safe from imaginary enemies. Her brother would then bravely head out to explore and map the territory surrounding their base, while she held down the fort and added some final touches. They had spent many a day playing fort and remodeling their standard structure to fit their needs for protection from imagination that day. It was ever changing, and their ideas were never exhausted. As a child, it seemed like she could allow her mind to wander for weeks on end, and never duplicate a single thought. She had allowed her imagination to run wild, and kept with it easily and enthusiastically.

As an ‘adult’ she had lost some of that sense of blind ambition and trust in her imagination to take her places. She had met reality, and realized that although imagination was more fun, reality was a necessary element to handle in life and could not be easily ignored. She became focused on completing tasks such as paying the bills and holding down a steady job, versus creating the perfectly sound lookout hole in her animal wall fortress. Reality made her focused on survival, and put her fanciful ideas and pondering in the attic, to be revived only when called upon and necessary. It would have been easy to clean out her proverbial attic, and make more room for productive activities, but she held on to the sentimental practices for times like these. For when she needed to take her heels off, put on an Iron Man mask, and chase her nephew around the house with a foam sword. Keeping that kind of clutter around her head was necessary for times like these, and these were the times that she lived for. Allowing her overactive imagination to fade would have been like allowing a piece of her to die and her accepting that loss passively.  She had to fight to keep this generally underrated element of herself alive, for her own sake. Because how boring would life be without an imagination? It’s hard to imagine…


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