Play, Laugh, Grow

October 7, 2008 at 12:36 am (2008)

Note: This post is part two in a series meant as a fun distraction as I reminisce the toys of my childhood and lament the decline of quality products. Sometimes, you just need to look back to move forward…Or, you know, find your inner child and simply play.

I don’t really know what it is about the toys of your childhood that provides such comfort, provokes such a fondness. After all, they’re just pieces of plastic molded by factory machines in the shapes of dolls and action figures, of miniature food and fighter jets…Thousands upon thousands of the same prototypes are stocked on shelves and sold in stores across the nation, across the world. And yet, once they are placed into our little hands, that piece of plastic instantly becomes something more — a real object, a welcome friend, and, later, a cherished memory. Toys magically become infused with the imprint of our childhood, which is why, so many years later, they’re still so much more than pieces of plastic.

Toys have the uncanny ability of transporting us to a time of innocence, where the world was whatever you made of it. They helped us to grow by extending our imaginations beyond our realities and allowing us to be whatever we dared to dream. Maybe this is why I cherish my childhood so much, why I’m often so hesitant to let go of it, why I’m so eager to reminisce — because, maybe naively, I still believe in that dream.

When we were little, we changed the world — our at least our little corner of it:

When we dressed up, we became superheroes, fighting for the cause (or maybe just fighting our brothers).

When we played with dolls, we turned into teachers, wanting to make a difference (not yet aware of basic Math).

We were healthcare professionals:

Mayors of little cities:

Restauranteurs:

We were whatever our imaginations allowed us to be, whatever we believed we could be. We were entrepreneurs even then.

Sometimes, I wish the adult me could drag out those packed-away boxes again, sit down on the cold tile of the basement floor, and say hello to those familiar friends. Too often, when we turn into adults, we’re so eager to pack those memories away, eager for what it means to be a grown up. But what would it matter, being all grown up, if you couldn’t take a step back, find the child inside of you, and remember what it meant to live in the moment and enjoy the endless possibilities that your imagination could offer, where every toy had a name and every name had a story.

And every story became a memory.

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