Growing up in the 1980s and 1990s were pure joy in my opinion. The internet and cellphones where a thing of the future while Saturday morning cartoons were our weekly dose of untainted laughter and life lessons. Even though we didn’t have the explosion of social media and internet Influencers, what we did have was unadulterated imagination and our own unique ability to create it.
We were explorers, adventurers and creators of our own world back then. We built forts out of our couches and we stayed out all day and night playing with the neighborhood kids. It was very similar to being in a real “NeverEnding Story”.
This year marks the 35th year anniversary of when the film first came out and that movie has remained in my life as one of my favorites. Since the reintroduction of the theme song in “Stranger Things”, it has sparked an urge to rewatch the movie after many years of living an “adult life”. I not only wanted to re-experience the child-like wonder I had as a child, but I also wanted to introduce it to my own child. I finally convinced my very opinionated four-year-old to take a seat with me on the couch and to watch one of my favorite movies.
As the opening credits appeared, my heart exploded with nostalgia. It was like I was in a time machine, dancing to the theme song and trying to sing to it, much to the chagrin of my daughter (she kept repeating,”well this is strange” lol).
As a child I was never afraid of Gmork, but I was intrigued and curious about “The Nothing”. I interpreted “The Nothing” as hopelessness and sadness and how it can take on many negative forms, thus how it can be in all of us. I also knew that Imagination was the only thing to defeat it.
As an adult watching it, I began to interpret that “The NeverEnding Story” was a cautionary tale about becoming an adult and losing ones way through bitterness, depression, heartache and a low sense of self. The movie instantly reminded me that what I was seeing, was what I had been exactly going through in recent years. That I (you), can be like Bastian but so wanting to be like Atreyu. Bastian consistently doubted his abilities, while Atreyu knew he had to complete his quest to save the Empress.
Bastian and Atreyu are one in the same. We are all combinations of Bastian and Atreyu but we tend to allow our self doubts to overtake us and we run in fear, instead of walking on in determination. The scene with the Sphinx Gate is where I made the connection between Bastian and Atreyu. Atreyu embodied confidence and boldness; he knew he could get past the gates. However, Bastian began to doubt whether Atreyu will make it or not and screams out for him to run, with Atreyu barely missing the lasers from the Sphinx’s eyes.
This sense of doubt nearly kills off his hero and it nearly kills off all of our confidence. Once we get a bright idea, we are filled with confidence and a strong sense of urgency, but as we get closer to begin the task at hand (whatever it may be) we back off and end up staying where we are at. We never try to pursue our dreams or goals and we watch as our lives drift by while our dreams die with us.
But if we allow ourselves to dream bigger and actually pursue what we want in the real world, we realize that we are the only one that is capable of creating our future. Once we realize that Atreyu is in all of us and that WE are the ones who control our destiny, the future is endless.
I encourage you to take that one grain of sand and keep on building until you never stop. That one idea, that one dream you’ve always thought about could be your first step into an unknown but magical future. So say “your name”, and take that first step into the abyss and build the future you want.
“To me, if life boils down to one thing, it’s movement. To live is to keep moving.” – Jerry Seinfeld