How to (Never) Turn 30
“All children, except one, grow up.”
-J.M. Barrie, Peter Pan
I have long feared this day, but alas, here I am: 30 years old! (How did that happen?) I’ve dreaded this day as an end to many things, mainly my wild and carefree twenties, and I’ve long viewed it as the beginning of the end – waking up becoming harder, back pain becoming more and more imminent, and unapologetic fun coming to a screeching halt. But upon reflection of the last 30 years of my life, and more specifically, just the last 10, it’s pretty evident I have nothing to fear, because I am never going to “grow up!”
I identify with Peter Pan so much. I fear adulthood, aging, and losing a sense of adventure. I regularly escape to my “Never Land” (better known as Walt Disney World). I look to the stars. I dream of flying. I’m unapologetically me. My best friends all channel Tinker Bell realness (sorry girls!) And I sprinkle my own version of sparkly “pixie dust” into just about everything I create.
Peter Pan is a play and a musical, and of course it’s a classic animated Disney film. I think its ethos of fearing one’s coming of age, its innocence, its perpetuation of playing make believe and its nostalgia resonate across the entire Disney film canon. And the lyrics to two of its songs, I believe, are quintessential “Claymaker.”
“The second star to the right
Shines in the night for you
To tell you that the dreams you plan
Really can come true
The second star to the right
Shines with a light that’s rare
And if it’s Never Land you need
Its light will lead you there”
“Up you go with a height and ho
To the stars beyond the blue
There’s a Never Land waiting for you
Where all your happy dreams come true
Every dream that you dream will come true
When there’s a smile in your heart
There’s no better time to start
Think of all the joy you’ll find
When you leave the world behind
And bid your cares goodbye
You can fly! You can fly! You can fly!”
While I had my run in the corporate world for the better part of a decade, and while I now own and operate a creative consultancy, I still don’t consider myself “a grownup”. Somehow, every day feels like playing make believe. The bills still get paid, work still happens, life still feels like a daydream fantasy – and for that I could not be more grateful and I could not be happier.
I guess what I intend this post to say, as I channel the spirit of youth, is that age really is just a number. I think if I actually “felt” 30, Claymaker would not be a reality. I think that my constant channeling of awestruck wonder and my wild imagination are what make my job so fun, prevent my life from being boring, and make my craft a spectacle. If I approached every project through the lens of a textbook “grown up” – actually, no, I’m not even going to speculate about that.
One (of many!) Disney World scrapbooks that my mom made for me has an inscription that no matter how old I get, I’ll always be that little boy that wants to meet Mickey Mouse. And that’s so true.