Friday, May 7, 2010

The Blanket Fort - How My Limited View Led to Amazing Adventures

I have fond memories of blanket forts.  I remember using every chair, dresser and box in the vicinity to construct a blanket castle to enjoy. I would imagine being a princess in a palace, a fair maiden in a tree fort, an explorer on a ship, or a time traveler waiting to discover the mysteries of the universe.  Let's face it...I wanted to be Dr Who, I just didn't know it then.

As I have watched my kids grow I see the same fascination.  For some reason life is more exciting under a blanket. Imagination is brighter, stories are scarier and sleep more peaceful when carefully cocooned under a blanket fort.

I wonder if this really has to do with the change in perspective.  When covered by a blanket you can't see much of the world.  Your view is limited to what you can see between the stacked side walls.  My fort never had television and in truth, not much light.  I spent my hours imagining where I was, why I was there and what adventures I was about to encounter.  My limited view of the outside world gave me an increased ability to imagine my way to great stories.

Do we give ourselves the same chances now as adults?  I find that I spend most of my time expanding my view of the world.  I read the news, I watch TV, I absorb information from all sides.  Rarely am I content to sit in a box and imagine my way to excitement.

I think I may have lost something in the process of growing up. I wonder how to get it back.

The days I spent in my fort were an important step in getting to know myself, my hopes, my dreams and my fears.  The solitude helped me learn about myself.  As an adult I don't have any activities that keeps me in touch with what I learned.

I have to be honest, I have no desire now to sit on the floor under a blanket.  I would much rather relax on a plush mattress and fluffy pillow.  If I don't have the advantages of the fort how do I recreate that feeling and excitement?  How do I limit my world view for a few hours and imagine my way into adventure?

The adventures I take today will look a lot different than they did 30+ years ago.  I think a spa day sounds like a wonderful thing to imagine, as I have learned being a fair maiden in a tree fort has its limitations.  I also think I will spend time imagining silence instead of white knights rescuing me from a tower. Silence just seems so more scandalous somehow.

Anyway, as I try to reclaim the joy and innocence of my blanket fort days I will remember to let my kids steal every blanket in the house if they want to.  I don't know a better way to encourage imagination, advance personal growth and foster a sense of self worth.  Who knew a blanket could do so much?

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