You May Say I’m A Dreamer

You may say I’m a dreamer
But I’m not the only one.
I hope someday you’ll join us
And the world will live as one…

John Lennon, “Imagine”


I’m sitting in the park like I do nearly everyday for lunch, rocking back and forth on the swing, pen and paper poised, ready, waiting to write. A little girl skips down from the parking lot and I smile kindly at her grandmother; we say hello, comment about the weather, then she moves on and I remain.

I hear the little girl’s shrieks of laughter as she rocks back and forth on the spring ride behind me. “Watch out, Lady!” she yells to her grandmother. “Boats are coming through here!”

I laugh quietly, amused at her outburst, and think, “where do these kids get this stuff?”

And then I kind of pause, and I realize, and I remember.

Once upon a time, I was her.

Or at least, the idea of her.

Once upon a time, maybe we all were.

We were that little boy brandishing a sword-stick against pirate enemies; we were that little girl clinging to the side of the slide, unable to get off due to shark-infested waters below. Once upon a time…

Once upon a time.

Where did our once upon a time go?

When did dreams become so hard to reach? When did reality become a burden to bear? When did we stop believing that anything and everything was possible, and how did our minds get so clouded, our imaginations so buried?

Why can’t we be dreamers? Why can’t we believe? Why can’t we dare to hope, see beauty and opportunity in every moment, with every breath?

Why can’t a slide still be a fortress, where, if only for a moment, we can rule the world?

Once upon a time, I was that little girl, longing for playtime, loving and living in the moment, wishing on stars and believing that anything was possible.

Now I’m a woman on her lunch break – where once I leave this place there will be papers to file and phone calls to return. But that dreamer still lives on inside of me, and while I’m here, I’m there again — that place where hope and wonder reside. For a moment, I’m a kid again, as I pump my legs high and climb towards the sky, trying to take flight, pretending — believing — that for a moment I can.

17 thoughts on “You May Say I’m A Dreamer”

  1. I agree with you sooo much. We lose the joy of life, imagination, the little boy or girl inside of us. We become focused on careers and being “successful” and paying bills which arrive in our mail almost daily as we try to keep up with the Jones’, the house, the car, the money, the things, the great career, having people know who we are because that means that we have “made it.” Well, I think it just causes people to become more self-centered, less aware of the world around them, and they forget how to stop and smell the roses. We push and push until we collapse. Does that make us more productive? No! Maybe we should try being children for one hour every morning before we go to work and then see how productive we are and how are attitudes towards life are. That would be an interesting experiment.

  2. Susan, beautifully written, as always. Personally, I try and make time every day to run with my imagination and let loose my inner child. I have still stuffed animals that are important to me, and I’m not ashamed. I still like to swing on the swings and slide down the slides on a playground. Hell, I went to Disney World with my mom last December. I honestly think that this is what keeps me sane. It’s easy to get caught up in grownup life, but once in a while, it’s definitely worth letting yourself be a kid again. Loved the post!

  3. Love it! As a mother, I’ve spent considerable time pondering the same things. I love the young lady my daughter is becoming, but I miss the days when I would just sit and listen to her play while she was totally unaware anyone else was there but her little world. The imagination is a wonderful thing. My daughter is the reason I still have one. She reminds me that possibility is endless.

  4. I love this post Susan – it made me think about how I look at how simple things used to be, how I could sit on the carpet for hours playing with Lego’s, constructing these grand medieval battle scenes inside my head – no worries, no cares, just breaking apart all the Lego’s and putting them back together again.

    It’s inevitable that we lose the innocence as we grow old, we gain responsibilities, we have to take care of ourselves – it’s the sad truth that reality brings. But, I think you’re on the right track – you still have the dreamer inside of you, and THAT’S what is important as we grow older – so many people lose that, the aspiration to do more, a sense of personal freedom, the understanding that life is what you make of it. I walk around and see so many people around me just going through the motions – I’ve been guilty of that myself – but life is about so much more than that – it’s a gift, and something that should be appreciated each and every day.

    I know, that sounded like something that I copied straight from Chicken Soup of the Soul – but it’s important, that in both our personal and professional lives, we never lose the ‘magic’ that makes us who we are.

  5. I just stumbled on your site via a tweet from Krislegalista and the timing was impeccable. Not 5 minutes ago I overheard some kids on the playground discussing their “secret cave fort” (I assure you there are no real caves here) and laughed out loud when I heard one child call the other a “dumb-wad”. It was like staring back in time at myself.

    Great post, thanks for sharing!

  6. Susan, this is so well written and really invoked a sense of nostalgia for me. I’ve so been in this place where I’m observing a younger child around me and I see where I am now…so far from that.

    I think an important characteristics, that I hope to always have is the sense of childlike innocence and playfulness. Sure, I’ve been jaded, I’ve grown up and I’ve experienced things that when I was a child, I couldn’t have even fathomed. However, it doesn’t mean that I have to stop dreaming or completely grow up. The balance of “forever young” mixed with maturity and realism is where I like to stand.

    Thanks for writing this. It is really beautiful.

  7. Dreamy.

    And beautiful.

    We lose all that when social responsibilities hit us.

    When you’re required in the “real” world.

    When ignorance gets tainted.

    When competence starts.

  8. What a beautifully written post! Just recently I was shuffling though old family photos from my childhood days. I instantly recalled past memories of making forts and tents with my older brother out of couch cushions, Slip ‘n Slide races in the backyard with my older sisters, and running around aimlessly with a flower in my hair and without a care in the world.

    After seeing the photos I kept saying to myself, “wow, I looked so..happy back then”. That’s not to say that I am miserable now, because that certainly isn’t the case. However, that spark of innocence and and imagination has slowly dwindled away. Imagination is truly something special, and it is such a shame that many of us have no choice but to let go of it once we grow up and enter the “real world” as responsible adults.

    As kids we become inundated with the idea that the world is our oyster: we can do and be anything we want. Somewhere along the way our vision (sadly) gets polluted and we forget about the things in life that truly bring about pure and complete happiness. I am slowly reworking my life in order to remind myself not everything should be so serious. Our dreams are worth pursuing, and our imaginations should be reignited, no matter how hectic and overwhelming our daily lives become. Thanks for this post!

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  13. This is such a bautiful thought, we must all eamin “dreamers” andnt give up on the belief in those dreams or we lose such an integral part of who we are. Keeping dreaming and those dreams will become reality.

  14. Thanks to everyone for such beautiful comments and thoughts, I truly appreciate your comments and love hearing how you can relate.

    Because I think that everyone can relate — there’s still a part of us, in all of us, that imagines and dreams. No matter how the world changes us, I think we can all remember what that’s like. Because we are still that little girl and little boy, really, aren’t we?

    Maybe just a little older and wiser and with bills and responsibilities, but I like to believe that we don’t ever really lose that.

    Anything is possible.

    Thanks so much to all of you and wishing you all the very best!

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