Keep The Dinosaurs

Dear Six-Year-Old-Me

Two Pieces of Advice:

One: You are not in love with Kendra McKabe. I know you think you are, but you aren’t. She thinks you’re weird. You are. She does not have a crush on you, mom just said that to make you feel good. In a few years you will also not be in love with Jess Smith. She will also think you’re weird. You still will be. Another few years after that, you will be in not-love with Julia Rudzka, and she won’t actually think you’re weird, which is surprising as you will probably be the weirdest you have yet to be. More time will pass, and you will actually know you’re not in love with Eliza, but you’re gonna stick with her way longer than you should, if only because she seems to like you, despite the whole “being weird” thing having only exponentially grown. Then, to bring you up to the present, you might have actually fallen in love, and you won’t be entirely sure, but that won’t stop you from confidently telling them you are. That will eventually go sour, and while it will sting, it’s nothing you can’t handle.

Piece of advice number two:

Keep the dinosaurs.

As you start growing up, you’ll find you start loosing things. At first it’ll happen slow. You’ll wake up one day and realize you don’t own any Legos. Then the pace picks up. Suddenly action figures will be gone, you’ll have a serous opinion on the most recent presidential election, and you’re going to think Lucky Charms are actually kind of gross. So keep the dinosaurs.

And not the feathered ones. I hate to drop this bomb on you, but scientists, and not the cool ones in Jurassic Park, are going to tell everyone dinosaurs were actually covered in feathers. All of them. You have to NOT believe them, because you live in a world where KNOW that there used to be dragons, where there was magic and immensity, and all that separated you from them was time.

See if those ever become just birds, it’s all over. You can’t let them be so similar to something you see every day, because as we get older, all of that mystery is going to dry up. You’re going to learn things, and while it’s certainly neat to be more knowledgeable, the more you’re aware of how the world functions, the less it will amaze you. Explanations tend to take away allot of the fun in things.

Right now, everything is amazing. It’s fantastic that your life has enough room for velociraptors and a girl, even if she doesn’t talk to you. But when you meet Jess you’re going to find the world shrinks around the two of you, and you’ll need to jettison some excess weight to account for the loss of space. Don’t let the stuff you throw away be dinosaurs. Ditch your sweet tooth, or picking your nose, as maybe without these things Jess will go out with you, but eventually she’ll stop being important, and you will have lost something truly valuable.

And the world will only get smaller. Its scope will progressively collapse around you, and you’ll realize it isn’t big enough to support most of your ambition. But here’s the thing about that; it gets cozy. Don’t get comfortable. Growing up, is not, as the name implies, and expansive endeavor, but rather the doors to possibilities being shut until you can only walk one way. So keep your dinosaurs, and prop open every frame with the bulk of a tyrannosaur.

It’s not going to be simple. For multi-hundred ton creatures they can be deceptively easy to misplace. You aren’t always going to want them around. their bodies can be clunky, tend to get in the way, and the first time you start getting intimate with a girl the last thing you’re going to want between you and her is a twenty foot tall slab of surly prehistoric childhood. Keep them anyways, if only because you will always know where you stand with a t-rex, were as no such guarantee can be made in regards to romance.

See, dinosaurs will become a strangely kinetic rock in your life. Being comprised entirely of bone and theory, no one can tell you what the thunder lizards looked like, how they acted, or what they meant. If you maintain your relationship with them, they will not only remain the source of awe you view them as now, but also a fond memory that evolves to be what you need any given day. When your heart starts breaking over the coming years, it will be a comfort to know that something infinitely larger and more powerful than you, that shook the earth with its steps, may have felt the same pangs of loneliness.

I get the most of this is probably going over your head. I still have trouble sitting still now, and we both know you never had a penchant for prolonged reading. So, too summarize, cultivate and understanding that the world is vast and expansive. Be aware that giants have walked where you walk, and that you are impossibly small when compared to the monsters you dream about. Know that this is beautiful; that creatures made of earthquakes and monsoons existed, that you occupy the same space as mythology, and the molecules that built them now form your structure. But mostly, Keep the Dinosaurs.



Spencer E. Alton (You)


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