"The life of every man is a diary in which he means to write one story, and writes another; and his humblest hour is when he compares the volume as it is with what he vowed to make it." - J.M. Barrie, from his novel The Little Minister (1891)
When I think of growing up, the characters and imaginary places in the works of James M. Barrie are never far from my thoughts. I've stood in front of his house looking across at Kensington Gardens, not at all surprised at this being a source of his joy and inspiration. He drew that line between youth and adulthood so dramatically and precise that you were on one side or the other, but never balanced between the two. Like many of his characters, the days of our youth were filled with adventures; you had the strength and courage to be anybody you wanted to be. It doesn't seem so long ago that we were slaying dragons, or circling the world in a balloon, or thrashing our way through a jungle with sword and shield to discover hidden civilizations. Imagination was the vehicle of choice and the path was lit with the light from our dreams and aspirations. Not even the dark of night could cut short those adventures; fore our dreams were filled with the next exciting voyage, eagerly planning the right moment to shake us loose from the comfort and security of our beds.
So here I am, older - and certainly with responsibilities never dreamed of in those adventurous days of youth - but can I say I've grown up? I still find myself slaying dragons, though they appear more like art directors and editors now; the world I hover high above is one I've created, mapped out in the pages of the mysteries I write; and wielding only a keyboard and screen, I journey deeper into a jungle of networks and cultures daily, evermore surprised to find them filled with adventurers just like me.
With a quiet thought to Mr. Barrie and that humblest hour, I feel fortunate the light from my dreams and aspirations has allowed me the tiniest glimpse or two into the pages of my life along the way. You may wonder, Is my life what I vowed to make it? Have I grown up, or have I further adventures before the last entry is penned? Let me sleep on it and I'll get back to you.