Imaginative Thinking Isn’t Just for Kids

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Over the past week the word “imagination” has been popping into my mind. I just celebrated a birthday and was remembering the many articles I’ve read about creativity and aging. Studies have found creativity dwindles with age as people hit their 60’s. Though I’m a few decades shy of my 60’s, I began wondering what  effects age has on my personal creativity. Given children are more prone to imagination than adults, I looked to my 5-year old for comparison.

What I enjoy about my 5-year old is his randomness. On my birthday, we celebrated by having a family lunch at a local restaurant. My 5-year old asked if his stuffed pet, Gussie Lion, could come along. He stated, “It’s a very special day and Gussie Lion would like to come to lunch.”

Of course, I enthusiastically replied, “Yes.”

With that my son put Gussie Lion into his backpack leaving the zipper undone so that Gussie Lion could breathe. By coincidence, when we arrived at the restaurant, the hostess sat us at a table for 5, even though there were just 4 of us. But, before the hostess could take the 5th seat away, Gussie Lion had made himself comfortable. He even had his very own lunch setting – dinner napkin, water glass and all!

Here’s a picture of Gussie Lion at lunch. Celebrating my birthday with my family and Gussie Lion is a memory I will cherish for a long, long time to come. Love it!


As I thought about the other ways my son has tapped into his imagination, I remembered when we used to speak “cat” to one another and when he pretended to be a dog named “Doe-a-Deer.” That phase soon passed when I caught family members feeding him water from a bowl. Actually, I didn’t mind that my son was drinking water from the bowl like a dog. What I did mind was where he was drinking…in the bathroom! LOL.

Ok, back to the topic of creativity and aging. When I returned to work the next day, I filled out a profile for our team’s newsletter. One of the questions asked, “When I was a child, I _____.” My answer was “When I was a child, I was a dreamer. I loved imagining what could be.” As I reflect on aging and imagination, I realize my imagination isn’t dwindling, it is just finding more productive ways to manifest itself. One of the benefits of being an adult is that I can now make all those wonderful imaginations come to life!

And, I suppose, because I am aware of creativity dwindling with age, I can find ways of staying young at mind.

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