I am drastically different but somehow exactly the same as Peter Pan


Addy Cousins

A picture of me, Hannah Levering, and Marie Betz waiting for the bus back in elementary school when I could only think of growing up and going to Hogwarts

I am not Peter Pan. 

He is terrified of the idea of growing up–so absolutely petrified of what he imagines it is like to be an adult. So, he ran to Neverland, where both the lost boys and he would never have to grow up. 

I do not seek Neverland. 

Peter Pan had a family of people just as intimidated by the concept of aging as him, another contrast between me and Peter Pan; my friends and family are clearly aging and wanting to age. 

My lost girls are not so lost; they have their lives planned out and, at least to me, can clearly see into the future. They can picture their futures. 

Peter Pan can imagine his future; that is why he is afraid. He peers into the looming upcoming and sees an unhappy version of himself, one who has responsibility piled on top of his shoulders, one where he has no free time. That is why he is filled with dread: he wants to stay young because he links youth with happiness. 

I differ from Peter Pan as I do not explicitly link youth and joy because I know I can be happy at any age. Even if I do not possess the prophetic powers everyone else around me seems to be able to access, I can sense joy in my forthcoming years. 

I am accepting of the future, but my one similarity with Peter Pan, I am scared. I—unlike so many others—am unable to picture my future. I know what I want; I know my profession; I know I want kids; I know plenty, but I cannot see it. I talk about my future as though it belongs to someone else. 

My future is not ready to be claimed, and it dances away from me. When I try to put all of my wants together to form a life that could be mine, it stretches apart, and all of the ideas start flowing away from one another. 

I can imagine an almost infinite amount of things: superheroes and aliens being real, my mind is on it. A fake romance created from a one-word interaction, I can see the wedding so clearly you would think I am truly standing at the altar. But, I can not suspend my disbelief when it comes to me aging and everything around me changing. 

I am not horrified by getting older. My fear lies in the unknowing. I yearn for the ability to see into the future, only so I could have an outline for my life. I do not wish for every minuscule detail, but it would ease my mind to know something about what lies ahead of me. 

My life is unfolding like a fairytale, but not a familiar one like Peter Pan, but rather more similar to a story from across the ocean in a foreign language, one I do not comprehend and I have to just accept that fact. I can not stop aging—and I do not wish to—like Peter Pan, so I am forced to face the unreadable book of my life.