My previous blog referring to Neverland, which I wrote over 8 years ago, has been on my mind as I recently celebrated my 30th birthday. I have been dreading leaving my twenties for YEARS. While I love birthdays, I do not love getting older. Most people have been telling me, “You still look so young. What’s the big deal?” My answer is…time is a big deal. While I have experienced so much, I often feel depressed about aging. Thirty years sounds like a long time, but to me it went by too quickly. I can only imagine that thirty more years will seem to slip away even faster. “I suppose it’s like the ticking crocodile, isn’t it? Time is chasing after all of us.” Many days I wish I could be Wendy…with just a little golden pixie dust from Peter Pan, I could fly away to Neverland and make the choice to not grow up.
Life was so easy and carefree as a child. No difficult questions to wrestle with, no decisions to make, no worries at all. Just living life one day at a time, wishing upon stars, and enjoying the land of make-believe we created with our wanderlust imaginations. Can we just get back to those days? Is that possible? Can we go back in time to a simpler time? I find it so ironic that when we were young, we spent our days longing for future days of when we could be older and do more exciting things in life. “You need not be sorry for her. She was one of the kind that likes to grow up. In the end she grew up of her own free will, a day quicker than the other girls.” And when we are older, we yearn for our past days…to get to be young and free again. It all seems like unfortunate timing. If I could fly away to another time and place, I’d tell my younger self to not wish to grow up so quickly. Because in the riveting words of Peter Pan, “Once you’re grown up, you can never come back. Never.” And in the words of Wendy, “Never is an awfully long time.”
Time is a concept I struggle with…all the time. I wish my past could become reality again…mainly because of how fleeting time is. Unfortunately, we can’t fly back into our childhood (though I would pay a fortune to be able to do so). When Wendy decides to go back home and grow up, she eventually tells her children and they later tell their children about her wonderful adventures with Peter Pan. The same can be true for us. Neverland is a possibility when we reminisce on past memories. We can be children again in our minds. If that’s the only option, I’ll take what I can get. And I hope that my future will be filled with many more adventures for my mind to fly back to. “Think of the happiest things, it’s the same as having wings…There’s a Neverland waiting for you, where all your happy dreams come true. When there’s a smile in your heart, there’s no better time to start. Think of all the joy you’ll find when you leave the world behind and bid your cares goodbye…you can fly, you can fly, you can fly, you can fly, YOU CAN FLY!” “The moment you doubt whether you can fly, you cease forever to be able to do it.”
Growing up is for the birds. But so is flying! I want to be mindful of the present (which truly is a gift) and not wish my life away. Because at the end of every day, the glaring reality is that my present then becomes part of my past. So…thirty years old…time to grow up, right? “Never say goodbye because goodbye means going away and going away means forgetting.” Peter wants Wendy to say goodbye to her parents and forget her life. After she and her brothers go away to Neverland, they don’t remember who their parents are, which frightens Wendy. She comes to the realization that growing up is inevitable, and that she cannot stay in Neverland. Saying goodbye to reality makes us forgetful like Peter Pan, but by growing up we remember everything, including our wonderful adventures in Neverland. In that regard, we actually can say goodbye without forgetting. “The clock is ticking faster now; I’m too old to be growing up…I’ll leave the pirate ships to kids who don’t know anything; I’ll be every bit the person we both already know I’ll be. Wake up, wake up, it’s time to be a man…Wave goodbye as I outgrow the shadow of Peter Pan. It’s time to be a man.” – Relient K
(I watched the live action movie Peter Pan (2003) today for some inspiration. I HIGHLY recommend it.)
Originally written July 24, 2017 (minor adjustments made)