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Peter Pan

February 23, 2016

 I was raised on Disney movies and fairy tales, my dad probably had to rewind Toy Story over a thousand times. I would obnoxiously and embarrassingly pretended to play with Peter Pan and the Lost Boys almost everyday. I know I would swim like Ariel with my sister in the pool any chance I got. I grew up thinking toys had feelings, could talk to each other, and would run around when you had your back turned. I grew up thinking growing up was bad, fairies were real, that Neverland existed and it was a wonderful place to be. I grew up thinking mermaids swam the ocean floors, they collected things we lost in ship wrecks, and that sea witches were pure evil. But now that I am an adult, I've realized that Disney movies aren't real life. Mermaids don't exist, toys don't live lives like us, and Peter Pan isn't going to fly me to Neverland during the middle of the night.
 Obviously as a kid, none of us wanted to grow up and take on all the adult responsibilities that we have in front of us now or in the soon future. We obviously just wanted to hang out in Neverland and simply never grow up! Because Peter Pan taught us growing up was icky and boring, something that would automatically disqualify us from spending a second in Neverland. But as we went to preschool, to elementary school, to middle school, and high school we never found a way to stop growing up. Scientists never found a cure for aging, and eventually we started to try to act older than we were. We essentially wanted to grow up; get to high school, get our license, get a car, graduate high school, go to college, etc. We no longer wanted to be seen as those little kids we once were. We wanted to grow up and do whatever we wanted. We didn't want to have to listen to our parents' rules simply because it was their house so their rules. We wanted to be like the cool kids, who always seemed to be older than us.
 We forgot all about Peter Pan's warning to not grow up somewhere between elementary school recess and high school house parties. We ignored him completely and threw him to the back of our minds. We threw ourselves into the world and grew up. And I'll be honest, I certainly tried a little to hard to hold on to my childhood for a while. But once I got to high school all I wanted was to be old enough to go to parties with my friends and hangout wherever. To be able to then graduate high school and move on. There is nothing wrong with growing up of course, we all do it eventually. We grow up, become adults, move on, then have kids of our own. I still today want to continue to grow up. I can not wait for the day where I'm married and have kids, I wish I could just fast forward in my life and rewind later. Be twenty-seven years old with a great husband, in a good spot mentally, physically, financially, and have at least one kid. I just want to be a wonderful mom and wife, living a happy life. Be all grown up, with wonderful memories to look back on but also be able to create some too of course.
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 But one day, after I found all my old Disney movies, I realized I sort of missed having no responsibilities. Not having to worry about school or literally anything. I whole heartedly wished that Peter Pan had flown into my life and carried me away. Of course I wanted to be able to stay there for as long as I pleased, but at the same time not allow the world to age a moment.
I wanted to take a break from reality, from school, and relax at Mermaid Lagoon with the mermaids, even if they are a little bitchy.
To play hide and go seek with Peter and the Lost Boys instead of sitting in math class for an unbearable amount of time. I wanted to stay up all night without any consequences. I wanted to be irresponsible, as naive about the world as Peter was with a kiss, to be able to tell stories every night to the Lost Boys. I didn't want to be sixteen and stressed out about school. I probably would have given anything in that moment for Peter Pan to crash through my window and allow me the adventure of Neverland. But of course Neverland isn't real, so after the movie was over I went back to real life. I went back to the troubles of school and life and responsibilities.

 I won't lie, I have this memory as a child which is probably more of a dream than a reality. I was outside standing in the garage with the door open, I can't remember how old I was, but I was extremely young. It was a cloudy night, but still the moon was exposed in the sky. I remember looking around outside before looking up at the moon, only to see clouds in the shape of a ship cross it's path. I looked up at the ship excitedly and spoke "Look! It's Peter Pan! I'll always remember you Peter Pan."
 Now, of course that is very similar to a scene from the movie, so I can probably say that's why I remember it so fondly. But perhaps I did go to Neverland as a child but simply can't remember? Perhaps my adventurous imagination is simply a wonderful memory that is so impossible that I refuse to believe it? Though that's extremely unlikely, the kid in me would love to believe it...
 I think we all have moments like that, where we want to go back and be a kid again with all our heart. Perhaps because life just weighs down on us some days and we can't bare to deal with it. We get so overwhelmed by this thing that we wanted for years, to grow up. We wanted so badly to grow up that we ignored the fact that the grown up things that come with it aren't optional. Maybe I'm thinking about all of this now because I'm about ready to grow up and open a new chapter in my life. A new year, new chapter, another year older. I'm nineteen now, as of today, and growing up seems a little scary even now. I am no longer allowed in Neverland because I've grown up, I've done what Peter Pan warned me not to. I've become what I hated as a kid, a stinky grown up. The only grown ups in Neverland are those stinky pirates and I wouldn't dare to become one of them.





Maybe, when I'm even older, I'll get to see if that silly 'memory' was ever real. Wendy got to see Peter Pan again, and though she was older she didn't really change. I think her allowing a little bit of childishness into her life kept her the same, though still grown up and mature when need be. She never really let go of Peter Pan, in fact she passed on his stories to her children. She let them indulge in her childish behavior, so perhaps I'll do that as well. I think I'd certainly look forward to playing pirate with my children, allowing them stories like Peter Pan.
 I think that even though I am grown up, still growing up, I'm a little bit more okay with that fact than I was when I started writing this. Writing this allowed me to indulge a bit myself on a childish thing such as Peter Pan. Here I am again, wanting to grow up even more so I can tell my children stories of Peter Pan. Not thinking about the troubles that will come with it, but I think that to be honest, we don't think of those things because the good things out weigh them. Though I would have love to have been the first lost girl, or the Lost Boys' 'mother' to tell them stories, I think growing up and being a mother to my own kids in a few years makes up for that a bit. As for now, I'm happy to be nineteen, but equally happy to still want to grow up. So I'll say goodbye to Peter Pan for now until I have kids of my own, I'll revisit that childhood gift later in life. Because right now, today, is pretty damn great. I'll live in the moment and deal with my adult responsibilities later, but I won't push them away.

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