Driving down Pacific Coast Highway last weekend I found myself staring out of the passenger side window at the countless storefronts lining the street. Each tiny shop window gleamed with promise of the possibility held between its walls. I felt an anticipatory sort of excitement as I considered the treasures, the beauty, the art that waited just behind their doors, and wondered whether anyone had ever driven this same road and experienced a similar attraction to the curious unknown hidden just out of reach. At that moment the world seemed full of possibility, of unnamed potential, and I held the key to imagining the limitless bounds of it all.
This, I thought to myself, is one moment that I will strive to remember. Not for the sake of returning to this place someday, not to purchase the fabulous vintage sofa on display, but rather because for one fleeting second I felt as if I were seeing the world as if through the starry eyes of my children.
Our earliest years of life are so blissfully perceived through the rosy lens of the imagination, and with Halloween fast approaching I am reminded daily of this fact. On this one singular day we allow ourselves the pleasure of transforming into the stuff of our dreams, into the realm our wildest imaginings. Astronaut, police officer, scuba diver – these were some of the popular choices in our household this year until my boys settled upon vampire and werewolf.
Which now makes me wonder – when did I stop believing? Believing in the impossible, the unrealistic, the not-for-sures? While I entertain a far many more what-if’s than my sweet reasonable husband, it is true that with age I have pulled closed the door of imagination so it’s now just a crack of streaming light that gets through. Only during moments of playtime, of daydream, of restless ambrosial hour sleep, does the imagined come alive for me again. And it’s heartbreaking, in a way, since I know that so relatively few years ago it was the five year old me who worked voraciously to complete the unending daily tasks of a superhero, princess, and veterinarian.
So this year I am recommitting myself – not to the psych ward, thank-you – but rather to the suspension of disbelief, to the simple acquiescence to all that is possible in this world and in others. This year, I promise, I will believe in promise itself. And I hope that you will too, with each and every storefront that rushes in a blur outside your window.