I like to live in the near future, the spot where tomorrow’s ideas can be implemented and used.  It’s a practical lens to dreaming.  Rather than say “I wish I was a millionaire”, I’d go something like “I want a boat”.  I may not get one tomorrow, but I should be able to get one in a few months.

The upside to this approach is that all of my goals are achievable.  They may push me to uncomfortable limits, but I do get there.  Maybe I have to learn a new skill, maybe I have to make some new contacts.  It’s still doable, and the bar is far enough that I feel some level of content having reached it.

The downside to this approach is that the ideas are less grand, they are more restrictive.  There’s less freedom to explore an idea, because dreams are often gapped by the unpractical.

So let’s say I want to be an astronaut.  Awesome dream, every kid seems to go through that phase.  Well, I’d have to go back to school and get a double PHD.  I’d have to quit my job to do that in time, which would be a financial burden.  I’d spend less time with my family and having “fun” on a day to day basis.  The goal itself would demand too high a sacrifice.

Let’s say I just want to be a pilot.  Well that’s pretty simple, I just go an take some lessons, get enough training hours in the air, and bob’s your uncle.  Would cost a ton, but could dramatically save on travel time to the cottage up North.

The practical aspect of my brain causes me to put up guiderails on any idea generated.  Advantage that I can see permutations of a problem and can rapidly think of mitigations.  Work has honed that skill to a fine edge.  But it’s still there.  From a day to day view, this is fine.  It “grounds” the family to stability and structure, while still moving everything forward.

Yet I’m aware that it stifles creativity.  Not in the sense that ideas can’t gestate, but that the BIG ideas, the ones that are a little bit more on the crazy side, they just get dismissed unconsciously.  I need some meat on that idea, to feel it out in my brain, to see that it’s somewhere in the realm of possible.  This gets worse the more I know about a given subject, since I’m well versed in the variables to make something work.  The curse of experience as it were.

Which brings me to a larger point, of kids imaginations.  The general lack of constraint, of limits in a kid’s head is almost surreal.  They’ll think of a Liger and go “where can I find one”.  Or they’ll draw a picture of a dog in space and figure their own internal logistics to accomplish the feat.  A simple stick can be a lightsaber, a mattress and covers a fortress against monsters.  Just so many things that make you go “hmm”, then smile cause it doesn’t really matter if they enjoy it.  Then think back as to when you lost that spark.

It’s a rambling bit for sure.  I’ve spent the fair chunk of 4 months now, every day surrounded by these little lovable buggers.  You don’t quite realize the fun in an item until you’re given the chance to step back.  I need to train myself a bit more to get out of the way, and simply enjoy the ride, rather than the destination.  Realizing that kids have way more to teach us than we give them credit for.

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