By Toby Moore
For Capital Region Independent Media
Remember when you were young? Anything and everything was possible. You were innocent, you had faith, you were able to believe in your dreams, and with a trusting heart, you knew you’d be able to make of your life whatever you wanted.
As Pablo Picasso once said, “Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up.”
Our childhood selves were indeed artists of possibility and imagination. But what happened as we grew older? We got hit by life.
Bad things may have happened to you. You may have witnessed, seen or heard things that destroyed your ability to believe that you could accomplish what you wanted with your life.
But is it better to grow up and abandon those childhood dreams and beliefs? Some argue that it is, as a child often believes in things that aren’t true.
Monsters under their bed, a rotund man with a white beard and a red suit who makes toys with elves at the North Pole, babies delivered by storks – these are the fantastical beliefs of youth. However, a child’s brain is undeveloped and prone to believing anything it’s told, and while some beliefs may be whimsical, there’s a special kind of power in that innocence.
When you were young, you had a set of beliefs that weren’t all true, but there were also truths in your beliefs. And as you got older and life’s blows came your way, you began to believe other things that weren’t necessarily true. It’s as if we exchanged one set of unfounded beliefs for another.
Take, for example, the case of Santa Claus. You stopped believing in his existence as you grew, but you may have started believing that your past determines your future. Does your past truly determine your future? If you fail at something, does that mean you’re destined to be a perpetual failure?
Similarly, when you were young, you likely believed your family would always stay together. But then, a painful divorce experience followed, and since then, you’ve grown jaded, convinced that all relationships are destined to fail. While it’s true that relationships can pose challenges, it doesn’t necessarily mean that every relationship is doomed from the start.
On a certain level, growing up does mean facing reality and letting go of childish fantasies.
However, embracing the optimism of youth doesn’t mean ignoring reality. It means recapturing the belief that you can overcome challenges and achieve your dreams. Life is a blend of ups and downs, like a painter’s brush strokes on a canvas.
Challenges, disappointments and heartaches can shake our faith in ourselves and the world.
Picasso’s journey reminds us of the transformation that life can bring. He said, “When I was a child, my mother said to me, ‘If you become a soldier, you’ll be a general. If you become a monk, you’ll end up as the Pope.’ Instead, I became a painter and wound up as Picasso.”
In your youthful innocence, you believed in yourself, which gave you the courage to try new things, dream big and persevere. Just as Picasso transformed himself from a child with dreams into an artistic genius, you too can create your masterpiece in life.
In 2024, amidst world turmoil and an uncertain future, it’s time to rekindle that trust in yourself and your abilities. It’s time to remember when you were young.
Those dreams and hopes were not foolish; they were the sparks that ignited your journey.
Embrace them again, and you’ll find that life still holds countless opportunities and wonders to explore. Just as Picasso’s art evolved and matured, your life can, too.
So, the next time you think that growing up means abandoning your childhood beliefs, take a moment to reconsider. In recapturing that youthful spirit, you’ll discover a renewed sense of wonder, determination and joy in life’s journey.
Remember when you were young, for within those memories lie the keys to a life painted with the colors of your dreams. After all, believing in yourself and your dreams is not foolish, it’s the first step to making them come true, just as Picasso made his artistic dreams a reality.
Toby Moore is a columnist, the star of Emmy-nominated “A Separate Peace,” and the CEO of Cubestream, Inc.