Before teenagers were spoon fed a diet of Justin Bieber and Twilight, many of them (including me) had pretty good imaginations. And until cash-strapped governments resort to placing VAT on imagination, I will hopefully still possess one to a certain degree (though most university degrees are sadly not the place for nurturing one’s imagination, and mine is slowly rotting away due to inactivity). Imagination kept me going insane as a teenager, in a country where the majority of days are cold, wistfully soggy and overcast, and one of the most popular forms of recreation is poisoning one’s self while listening to the soul-crushing beats of dubstep in a big crowded dark room with a sticky floor (if you love this, I’m not really against this form of recreation, it’s just not for me).
For some reason, when you’re young, you’re constantly told to stop daydreaming, and in school are encouraged to rote learn boring facts about stuff you don’t care about, that you will never use, in a totally structured non-modified fashion, rather than cultivating your own interests and becoming prolific at them once you have discovered them. At least that’s what it was like when I was in secondary school. While university gives you a sense of freedom in that you can write your essay on whatever the hell you want, as long as you can back it up with evidence, for most people, it still doesn’t cater to the imagination (if they desire to develop one) so a lot of people don’t really have time to develop it, and probably can’t be bothered, which I think is a shame. Without imagination and creativity, life would be pretty boring (which is why I find it annoying when people criticise creative/arts degrees for being useless and not a benefit to society (I’m not creative/arts, incidentally)). Yes, life would be so much more interesting and vibrant if everyone just studied the hard sciences like your secondary teachers wanted you to.
A lot of people don’t read other than what their job or work requires them to. If this is you, this goes beyond the stretches of my imagination, as I love reading and creative writing. Using a slice of free time to engage my brain to create something out of nothing is infinitely more satisfying than watching a group of men kick a ball around on TV for ninety minutes (again, not against this, it’s just not for me, and unfortunately I’ve probably alienated a sizable chunk of readership for not embracing football with my heart and soul, but there you go).
I’m not going to go into detail about what my imagination was like when I was a teenager as it’s pretty irrelevant and I’m assuming you don’t care. But I’m glad that I did, and still do, read lots of books and watch lots of films, and engage the creative part of my brain now and again. You never know when imagination might help. Maybe I’ll come up with the next big creative business idea? Maybe I won’t, but imagination never goes amiss in life, and is one of my most treasured parts of my brain (though if people didn’t have some vague resemblances of an imagination, they wouldn’t write those internet blogs you are constantly finding and spending your precious time reading, so it’s a kind of win-lose situation for humanity).