If you know me at all you know as a child I was enthralled with the idea of Peter Pan’s magical world, Neverland. I wore down the edges of my VCR tape, and more than once tangled the inner real as I fast-forwarded and rewound the fanciful Disney story over and over again. I sat mesmerized by the whirlwind of adventure and make believe that to my young mind sat just at the edge of the gray line of possibility. I allowed myself to truly believe such a place existed. That past some far star there floated an island of magic, a place of escape. Beyond the place itself, I idolized the character type of a boy who never ever wished to grow up. A child myself, I, understood his flighty sentiments, who would ever wish for the worry lines and work I saw fated for every adult. Flying on faith and magic, Peter Pan, offered someplace else, he offered hope. While all of this is well and good and sweet in a way that all embarrassing childhood fancies are, it’s often easy to ignore the very real applications this story still offers, even to a confused and simultaneously all too self assured audience like ourselves.
As a senior I sit staring down what feels to be a precipice or maybe, like Wendy, I stand straddling two separate worlds. With one foot planted firmly in the past eighteen years of the known and the other just barely grazing the ground of the rest of my adult life. I am faced with confronting the future. I am being asked to make choices that potentially define everything and nothing. In a position like this it is hard to quell the urge to run backwards, to see if anything waits behind the second star to the right. And it’s not like I’m the first one to feel this way, even Hamlet agreed saying, “For who would fardels bear….but that the dread of something after death…puzzles the will, and makes us rather bear those ills we have than fly to others we know not of?” Sure we may not be dying exactly, but we are stepping into that which we know not of. But as tempting as eternal youth and pirates with hooks may seem in light of nervous fear, I have come to learn time passes as it should and I should continue with it. I have learned the secret of the boy who never grows up and it’s that he never gets to be a man, a father, a grandfather. Never gets to know that life is faith and magic, but also heartache and happiness that is earned only through experience. Neverland promised stability and safety, never anything perfect, but everything familiar.
Yet years later I seek its reality and am stumped even at it’s very name. Finally I realize, we don’t want to go to this place of “nevers” anyway. As a child, pushing VCR tapes through old monitors bright colors may tempt us, but we know better now. We now know why Wendy went back to her room and turned the latch on the windowsill. It’s not because J.M Berry sucked, its because he was pushing us to ask ourselves, “why choose this?”
In our own time each of us will eventually make the choice to grow up. It may be loud and scary, it may creep by silently; but no matter how it happens, it will eventually happen and we must accept that we will be better for it.
So why do I sit here opening up a story many of us closed years ago? I don’t have one good answer. I guess it’s because I want to say the thing that all ears long to hear: everything will be ok. As a senior in high school, there is not much one can say for certain that they won’t regret as embarrassingly premature later; however, I feel quite certain in this. That each of our lives is our own story and we must first live, really live, to find the words to fill our pages. We are meant to read life cover-to-cover, page after page, experience it all and still want more. We are meant to grow, we are meant to choose life.
So listen to the stories around you, learn that everything fun and good can always be scary and sometimes all it may take to face that future, to cross that line is little faith, trust, and pixie dust.
~ Clara McDonald