Friday, September 25, 2009

Peter Pan at Heart

By far, Peter Pan was my most favorite Disney movie as a child. I was never too keen on the flying, especially now, but the characters and their world fascinated me. I loved Tinkerbell and wanted to be her. And when I had outgrown fairies and sparkly leotards, I wanted to be Wendy. I loved the Lost Boys and their little world. And, they lived in a tree and that was the best part of all.

For some unexplained reason, I had an obsession with tree-dwellers. There were the Bernstein Bears, whose books I devoured at a rapid rate, who lived happily in a hollow tree trunk complete with a little stoop and dormer windows. And then there were the gnomes on Nickelodeon. They stood no bigger than your thumb and also made their home in the trunk of a tree. And finally, there was Winnie the Pooh, who I never really cared much for except that he lived in a tree, too! I was ready to carve out a tree trunk and play Susy homemaker by the time I was six.

But, living in a tree is not the point here. As a child, the concept of Peter Pan and the Lost Boys never growing up was unimportant and over my head. I was forever young and immortal as far as I was concerned. Never growing up was just a given. Now, however, at the ripe old age of 22 (totally kidding, but then again, maybe not) I am finding it more and more difficult to look forward to next year. I still tell people I am 21 without even thinking about it. And, when a girlfriend would point out a cute boy (for herself of course!) on the street and then remark, "He's too young. I bet he's just 18." It never registered that 18 maybe was a bit too young for a 22 year old. Then, I would remember that my brother is 18, and my heart would sort of flutter in panic until I could assure myself that those 4 years from age 18 to 22 had felt like ages. When really, it hardly seemed possible that 4 years had passed already. "Wasn't I just 19 last year?" I would think, my breath catching in my lungs. I would quickly do the math in my head. "NO! I'm 22 now, which means 3 years ago I was 18. O God."

And then I think about Will and how I never want him to die, ever. It breaks my heart to consider a world without him in it. And, I don't mean my world without him in it. Thinking about me being dead is no biggie. But Will, dead?? No way. He has to live forever. I know these are selfish thoughts, but I don't want him to get old either. I don't want him to lose his 20-15 sight and have to use a cane and worry about his heart. I don't want him to suffer in any way and I never want him to stop being, to stop living. He is life, my life.

I know as a Christian that there is something far better for us after life--that God is waiting to welcome us to the best part, when humanity no longer threatens us with pain and death. But right now, its hard to keep that in perspective and imagine riches that are not of this world, when Will and I have just begun something so beautiful as a part of it. It isn't death that scares me, really, its the process of aging and the wearing out of the body and mind that I can't handle. You start dying the second you take your first breath, and that's ok. I just don't ever want to be unable.

I don't want to be old. And, I don't want to grow up.

Blasphemous? Perhaps. Selfish? Most definitely. Crazy? I don't think so. If I found the Fountain of Youth tomorrow, I would drink from it and bring some back for Will. I don't want to live forever, though, which kind of defeats the purpose, right? I've read Tuck Everlasting enough to realize that eternal life would not be fun. It would be lonely, very lonely, and mentally, very wearing. All good things must come to an end and for good reason. It makes you appreciate the journey so much more.

That is why I resolve to never grow up. Don't you remember as a child how long it took the clock to go from hour to hour? I want that back. I want to look at the clock and say, "Wow! I can't believe it's only been 10 minutes!" I want to wallow in this life. I want to take my time. No more shortcuts. No more easy ways out. I'm in it for the long haul. I'm not trying to hurry up and be anyone or do anything other than who I am and what I am doing right now at this very moment. No more hurrying, no more rushing, no more impatience. Everything will happen, so I'm just going to let it. And, if that means waiting, then I will wait, and I will not watch the clock.

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