When I cleaned out my things I found an old notebook, covered in dust, having been neglected since my childhood. I almost tossed it in the cardboard box that contained the rest of my bygone years, yet, on a whim, I wiped the dust off the front cover, holding it in my hands, and turned to the next page. Before me lay the hopes and dreams of a twelve-year-old living a fantasy. As a man, I read the thoughts of a boy spilling out before me. And before I knew it, tears blossomed from my eyes. For I realized that the fantasy I had dreamed had been forgotten, having been written down in this book, locked away for all eternity.
Had I ever traveled to Peru and climbed the Andes? Had I ever visited the Great Wall and walked its length in a day? Had I ever learned German, nor yet found someone to confide the most inner parts of my soul? I realized that the boy I was had been more man in his dreams than the man I was now could ever hope to be. For while that boy had dreamed of legends, and tails, epic stories, and thrilling adventures, this man dreamed of paying off student loans and Fridays. This man dreamed idle dreams. This man, the man that I now was, had fallen into a deadly trap. He had become complacent in mediocrity. Lacking ambition, I had no aspiration. Lacking a dream, I had forgone my destiny.
And so I hastily closed the book. I closed the book that contained the real me. The me that could have done but never did—the me that died long ago. The me that died in the attic above my room to live in a nondescript house in a modest neighborhood. The me that died in that fort in the woods to live a peaceful life in terror of the wild. The me that died playing hero only to pick up a desk job. All these, the very things that which I had despised, I had become.
I quickly stood up, attempting to cast the book into the trash, but alas, I could not! No. The hopes and the dreams, the wonderful, magnificent fantasies were now far more dangerous. They were sinister. They were painful to bear, but bear I knew I must. It was as if my hand had frozen, and I could not let go. They were a part of me once more, a part of my soul. Once again, I saw my life flash before my eyes, only, in reverse. I watched as my college years flew by in a hurry, mostly late nights spent studying for a degree I did not want. Then my teenage years, days spent playing video games, ruined in idle, subconscious vegetation. I watched as my life began to slow. I watched as now, I knew I could not be more than thirteen. And then, I was twelve. I saw the world through those twelve-year-old eyes. I held that silly notebook with those twelve-year-old hands, and I ran to the bathroom. I looked in the mirror and I saw that twelve-year-old face. I ran back into my room, and I saw a floor strewn with Legos.
I opened the notebook again, as it had never left my hands, and I saw the ink still fresh on the paper with that signature, twelve-year-old handwriting, and I realized that the life I almost lived had been more than just a dream; it had been a warning. So I vowed then and there, and I made one final entry, or rather, the first of many; that I would live this life. I would make my final fantasy, my first reality.