Do you remember that feeling that anything could happen? And I’m not talking about just on Wednesdays, either, but for a full weekend, in the middle of the night to early morning, summer vacation, daydreams. For me, that feeling stopped coming around maybe three or so years ago, and I miss it. I miss it all the more because I’m reminded of its absence almost daily when I see its presence in my own kids. As children, we have that natural wonder, that inborn optimism and we think of what is possible in terms of cities in space, mansion-esque tree houses, flying cars, rescuing people like the Lone Ranger and X-ray vision among the other daydreams of seven-year-old boys. Once becoming a young adult there are promises of a career path to greatness, wealth, writing that novel or that screenplay, or even meeting your true love and having the perfect family. There are days when you wake up and you actually believe that today anything might happen that will set the next stage of your life into motion. I used to have that feeling, maybe it was called optimism, but it’s mostly gone now, eroded over years of responsibility, the headaches of business ownership and trying to get a grasp on a very realistic picture of the future.
Yesterday, though, I witnessed the amazing feeling of possibility first-hand. One of The Quartet had acquired a helium-filled balloon and the other three convinced the owner to release the balloon with a note attached explaining who had let it go. The note began: We are in America. They had such high hopes, literally, for this balloon that they felt compelled to let the eventual recipient know from what country it originated. This sad little, red balloon that was already losing its loftiness is probably in a tree one block over, but as far as The Quartet is concerned it’s in China or Bolivia or the Polynesian Islands, in the hands of some other child who is trying to decipher that note in wonder. And as jaded and pessimistic as I may be now, I’m not inclined to change their minds. I wouldn’t dare. Because I miss the days of imagining that I’m Tarzan or that I might fly with a jet pack one day or that a balloon, released in Midtown Memphis could journey halfway around the world.