Growing up, I shared a room with my sister, Sarah. It wasn’t the largest of rooms, but we managed to squeeze two single beds inside, parallel to each other like two sticks floating down a river. The small space between almost acting as a measure of time. The four-year age gap has never really seemed that much. The beds were pushed back against the window ledge which overlooked the grove we lived in.
At night, it felt eerily quiet. Almost a pristine existence of an average suburban street. Looking back at my childhood and growing up in the 90s, I never really felt fear. I’m not sure if there is more evil in the world now, or just that the only real terror I personally saw was in high school horror movies. I was always waiting on Ghostface or Candyman to show up. Yet, the quiet and the darkness never really scared me.
While I was still small enough to do so, I would perch on the window ledge and gaze out onto the street and up to the night’s sky. A cascade of stars alerted me to the great unknown. I spent many sleep-stricken nights looking out, almost searching, but with no real intent but to pass time. Pass time until the sun would shock me back into reality.
I miss those moments of peace and solitude. Though I was never truly alone, with my sister a mere foot beside me, I miss the long nights of just pure gaze and wonder.
Because wonder is a funny thing.
When I would stare out at that quiet street and up to that black sky, wonder always meant dreams, aspirations and questions. Lots and lots of questions, but I would never expect an answer, I would merely conjure up all these various possibilities and extraordinary stories behind every little thing. And that was enough.
If I lay awake at night now, wonder means something very different. It often means regret. Regret and anxiety. It’s the things I should have said that day to a frustrating manager. It’s debating who was wrong between me and another angry driver. It’s thinking of something positive in the future, and all the things that could go wrong to prevent it from happening. It’s the wrong type of curiosity.
It’s a pretty fucked up daydream.
Wonder doesn’t have to be accurate. It doesn’t have to be meticulously planned with every question answered. You just let it happen. I truly believe the most creative and exciting people are the curious ones. The ones who are willing to try anything once and not debate over the outcome. The ones who can look at the sky, and see not just darkness, but an infinite spectacle.
I’m gonna bring some of that fearless 90s to 2016, because to wonder, is damn wonderful.
Happy New Year.