It doesn’t have to be that way…

 A sense of wonder and enchantment

I remember waking up one morning to a set of miniature books that had quietly been placed on my dresser. At the age of eight, I was a sound sleeper, so I didn’t wake when someone snuck in my room and placed those books. No doubt the someones were my parents. But back then, my mind went to more fanciful things. It was pure magic. Forest creatures or people from the other side of the mirror came into my room to leave me a little taste of imagination.

everything was in vivid color…

well, except for the television. The television showed the world in black and white. My imagination transformed the black and white images to dramatically colorful images, more colorful than they would have been in real life. If there is any such thing as real life. I remember being a very little kid, carried by one of my parents. I saw something colorful and I reached for it.

In a store, it’s against the rules to reach for things, even if they are colorful…

and I stopped reaching for colorful things. And I stopped trying to pluck the stars or even the clouds out of the sky because they were beyond my reach. If I couldn’t touch them, how could I reach for them? But all was not lost. If I couldn’t pluck the stars out of the sky, I could go visit them. In a rocket ship. As an astronaut. I could travel to outer space and reach for the stars. 

Later on, I realized that you can’t open the doors of a rocket ship as if it were your house. In the rocket ship, I could get a closer view of the stars, but they were still beyond my reach.

but I couldn’t be an astronaut

Once again, reality set in. There were too many rules for who could fly into outer space and who couldn’t. There was this pesky issue of getting carsick. A spaceship ride would be a very rocky ride. Much jarring. It was not a plan.

and so, I became an adult

and life became mundane and a bit lonely. When I was a kid, I thought that adults had all of the fun. When I became an adult, I learned that there were many disappointments to be had…


it doesn’t have to be that way

my imagination doesn’t have an off switch. It didn’t expire when I stopped growing taller. My imagination could grow independently, as long as I nurtured it. I found out that it was all right that my dreams had changed. I no longer look to travel into outer space to touch the stars. I chose to explore the earth instead, to put my feet in the rivers and the oceans, to climb a mountain or two, and to be happy in the exploration. Each day is still a beautiful new gift, to be opened with glee and celebrated with enthusiasm. 

What makes you happy?

5 thoughts on “It doesn’t have to be that way…”

  1. I think we all have "big" plans when we are children. The thing that makes my the happiest is having Lia enjoy baking and sewing with me. I think that's because I did the same with my grandmother when I was young and the memories come to life watching Lia do these same things.

  2. Kebba Buckley Button

    Alice, thank you for a killer funny poignant sweet article! You have a future in writing, if you want it: think, Eat Pray Love. Anyway, to your question: gratitude makes me move into my happiness. Being in nature, studying the sky (at any hour), photographing those. Building an ever more cozy and joyful life with my husband in our cozy and joyful home, with the cozy and joyful Feng Shui Garden that now sports a Bird Sanctuary. Knowing that God loves us and is at work in front of us and behind the scenes, whatever the appearance is.

  3. I second Kebba's opinion about your future in writing. Well done! What makes me happy is being with people and making a difference. And when I need a little solitude a fantastic book and a cup of hot chocolate by the fire is all I need for a little self-care.

  4. I love hearing what people imagined when they little before our minds discovered reality. My mind turned things scary at night. My daytime lovey dolls turned into evil creatures and I couldn't sleep in my room. My poor parents…..

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