Benny Sip


The Moment I Stopped Playing Pretend

I’ll never forget the moment when I stopped playing pretend.

I remember sitting there on the carpet, the age of 10, lost in Lego Land. Playing, imagining, creating only as a child can. Then suddenly, as if I could see myself from above, I, for the first time ever, asked my little self “what would someone think if they were to see you right now - playing pretend - what a silly kid?” And that, that is when it ended. Just like that, in a second.

It was as if any “happy thoughts” that Peter Pan had granted were no longer accepted. Through finding my self for the first time, looking from above, I lost the “lost boy” I had been since inception. The birthright that should be granted to all children. Unrestricted permission to “play pretend.” However, in my case, on this unforgettable day, the fairy dust had run out. And that was the moment when Lego Land ended and I, a lost boy no longer, entered the world of adulthood. 10.

Surely a significant moment. After all, 20 years later I still remember it. Vividly. Painful perhaps, or more so a remembrance of the stark realisation that one cannot go on forever “playing pretend.” Eventually, as someone must have said, “we must all grow up in the end.” Throwing play to the wayside. Forgetting it completely. Replacing it with real life. As one adult, long after my inner child died, later described “life, wife and bills.”

Or rather, the inner child never died as much as the lost boy just got lost for a little while. Yes, perhaps something like that, along those lines. Is not the beauty of something lost that it only waits to be found again? A toy hidden beneath a child’s bed. Like pieces of legos, once lost long ago, still capable of building a child’s vision. The beauty that is a human’s imagination, lost, put to rest, found again. Coming full circle in a round world that tells us to grow up and then, then become children again.

~ The Moment I Stopped Playing Pretend ~

Ben Sippola