Everything is so exciting. Everything is new. You explore, investigate - touching things, putting them in your mouth, staring in wide eyed wonder.
Every new discovery surprises and amazes you. If you put the car on the top of the ramp it zooms down. If you hit the box a certain way it makes a funny sound. If you poke the hermit crab it pinches you.
You laugh, you dance with joy, you cry.
As you get older, you ask questions. Why is the sky blue? How does the grass grow? Where do babies come from? The answers lead to more questions. You need to know, your curiosity has no limits.
You become an explorer. You discover exciting new places. The field over the back fence. The woods behind the church. You build forts, you catch snakes, you make up new sports. You’re fearless.
Your imagination runs free. You invent whole worlds for yourself. You’re a master chef, an olympic figure skater, Willy Wonka, an otter. You entertain yourself for hours. Your boogie board is a horse, your stuffed animals talk, your play mobile have families and jobs of their own.
At some point you notice that you haven’t played with your dolls in a while. Your beanie babies lie forgotten. Your little brother asks you to play legos, but you get bored half way through. You still retreat to your imaginary worlds, but your visits are increasingly shorter.
Your life gets more complicated. You go to school. You start caring what people think of you. You gossip, you tease, you get your first crush. You rebel against what you’ve known. You want nothing more than to grow up so you can do what you want.
You celebrate birthdays - 13th, 16th, 18th, 21st.
There isn’t a discernable point where you grew up. It’s been happening all along without you really realizing it. You wonder where all the excitement went. You reminisce about the carefree days of your childhood.
But you can still explore, dream, discover. It just takes more work than it used to. Your exploration could be in a distant country, or just downtown Your discovery could be a new favorite author, a new food, a new friend.
The world doesn’t have to cease to be exciting just because you are older.
I hope in that sense I never really grow up.