Once in a while, listen to your inner child

By Alexia Boyarsky

Then I was 11, I read a book and my life changed forever.

I feel like few people can pin point a turning point in their life as specifically as I can. I know for a fact that when I opened the purple bound cover of my first Harry Potter book, my life took a turn.

It’s not just that I began to love reading at that moment, it was also a moment when I grew up a bit. That sounds funny doesn’t it? How can you grow up by reading a children’s book? I grew up the moment I developed a passion, and while it was a childish passion, agreed, it also made me into who I am today: slightly crazy, excessively sentimental, competitive, annoying and smart. How can just one book do that?

Well, for starters, it was the lessons I learned.

I learned how through thick and thin, whether you’re stuck in a forest finding Horcruxes or crying about college, your friends help you through everything. I had, and continue to have, wonderful friends, who for some unknown reason actually like me, and the fact that I’ve had a wonderful high school experience is entirely due to them. Thank you to all of you. Whether we only became close senior year or you’ve known me since my first day in ninth grade, walking around pathetically with my cast, you mean the world to me.

I also learned about the importance an individual makes. That even a 13-year-old can defeat the evilest wizard in the world, and even at the ripe age of 18, I can make a difference. Yes, my education isn’t over yet, but that doesn’t mean I have to wait to do something great. And although no bright ideas have come to me yet, I’m sure the Muse will strike sometime soon, and I’ll be ready for it.

But most importantly, Harry taught me to use my imagination, and with this I present my offering to you.

If you remember nothing else from this senior column stuck in the sea of others, remember never to lose touch with your inner child, because the powers you held back then should never be lost.

As we move on to elite universities, and read Nabakov, Austen or Homer, we’ll become bright, shining adults, at last ready to capitalize on the “potential” my father and Jeanne Huybrechts keep harping about. But what I’m worried about most is becoming one of those mindless drones that go to work and come back with nothing in between.

No matter how much money we end up making, how many businesses we own or how well we are able to circumnavigate paying our taxes, please remember the glorious years when you weren’t burdened with anything.

Take the time to run barefoot through the grass.

Take the time to read children’s books with your future kids.

Take the time to bake cookies, to plant flowers, to walk along the beach or simply to daydream.

But most importantly: just take the time to appreciate the world. This sounds ridiculous coming from an 18-year-old (and no, Derek, I am not a 20 something year old undercover journalist like in “Never Been Kissed”), but we all know it’s true. Just look at how quickly the past year went. I remember receiving my ring back in September, and suddenly I have to deal with graduation lunch reservations (well, you do, Mom).

It’s crazy; but what’s even more frightening, is that the rest of my life will go by just as quickly.

Now, as much as I have always loved Harry (he pretty much defined my life for at least four years) I will eventually have to leave him behind. And I think I’ve come to terms with that. But the lessons I’ve learned from him will never be lost, no matter how big my vocabulary gets or how convoluted the novels I’m reading become.

I realize at the end of this column (and having been forced into a private room to finish this, because at noon on Monday I’m still not done) that I never really wanted to write about Harry, he was just a smokescreen.

I wanted to write about my friends. Life without them will be impossible, heartbreaking, lonely but necessary.

I also wanted to write about my dreams. I have so many of them (as my family mercilessly teases me about), but if I ever truly “grow up” then I will lose them, and that’s a sacrifice that I, and hopefully you, am not willing to make. So the little child inside of me (the one that still watches Disney movies, and still enjoys Disneyland) lives on, despite my tall, almost six foot frame.