peter pan syndrome.
We all know the classic story of Peter Pan, the point of this post isn’t about the story of Neverland, but more with Peter’s choice of never wanting to grow up in the real world.
When we were younger, we wanted nothing more than to grow up. We couldn’t wait to have our first drink, learn how to drive, to have sex, move into our first house, and to fall in love. At a certain point, birthdays became a countdown, it was exciting to become another year older, another year closer to freedom, another year closer to independence.
But, before you know it, the fairy-tale is a horror story and real life starts to sink in. Now, I thought secondary school was bad, but turns out, we had it lucky! You didn’t have to worry about paying bills, you just had to worry about saving up enough money for a jump-in on the weekend and a break-up was handing someone back their hoodie, not having to pack up boxes of your belongings.
Adulthood isn’t all bad, right? We have our great moments too, all individual and personal to ourselves and when these moments happen, it reminds us of just how truly special life is.
So, Peter Pan, the boy that never wanted to grow up. When I was young and watched “Hook, (1991)” and “Peter Pan, (2003)”, I never grasped the concept of why Peter didn’t want to grow up when this is all I wanted, but now I get it, Peter never wanted to grow up because if he did, he knew he would lose his child’s sense of imagination. Now this is something I would love to still have, although I know I have a creative mind, the purity of a child’s imagination is nothing short of perfection. I look at my two nephews and see their little minds flood with imagination and creativity, and it’s beautiful to see. It’s like a little piece of memorabilia that throws me back to simpler times.
To take Peter’s hand and fly away to Neverland seems like the better choice, but this is where my problem lies. When we hit a certain age, we are told time and time again to grow up and become an adult, to do what others around you are doing, something I’ve heard multiple times and resisted against. Society is something that likes things a certain way, and if you’re not doing that, your failing, your wrong, which we can translate that by looking at Captain Hook’s hatred, or maybe even jealousy of Peter. Captain Hook is the man that did grow up and is being chased by a man-eating crocodile with a ticking clock in its stomach, now isn’t this the perfect representation for death itself which we all know will catch up to us, no matter how much, or how fast we run from it.
I grew up with a very vivid and creative imagination and with that I played till I was a lot older than most. I still have some of these tendencies but more as a coping mechanism. It was always something I felt ashamed off, nearly as ashamed as being a raging homosexual.
Years ago, my Mum learned at a work event that it was healthy for teenagers to play, as it allowed their imagination to thrive and helps strengthen creativity, so she always supported and encouraged my playful side, allowing me to do so even when I had finals due…
Now, to the point. Growing up is inevitable, it’s something we all do, but why do we leave the childish, playful side behind as we become adults. We should never allow anyone, or anything to dampen who we are. We all spent the first years of our lives playing, being creative and imaginative, so why do we throw it away when we gain some responsibilities?
So yes, Peter Pan, I will come to Neverland with you, but only on the weekends.