A life's journey with LEGOS

LEGOS have been a part of my life as a mother for close to two decades. They have been barefoot torture instruments, irritating dust collectors and mostly sanity-saving distractions for "boring" days. They seem to multiply in the dark like gremlins. Recently, however, I saw a meme that made me view LEGOS in a new light. It has inspired a personal journey.

If you put a single LEGO brick down on a board, it's fairly unimpressive. Add another, though and then more and, magically, those bricks transform into castles and starships, skyscrapers and trucks, fantastical, endless possibilities.

The idea is that one brick doesn't feel like much of an accomplishment. But brick after brick, you are building something. The foundation of which wouldn't be there without that first brick.

That visual has captured my imagination. What if you approach a year in your life like that? Any single day feels unimpressive but add them up and see what your goals look like if you reach for them, a little at a time, day by day. So, I decided to pile up 365 bricks, assign my goals to them and begin adding them to a board.

In an extra stroke of genius, I decided my bored middle schooler (how dare it rain on day one of summer vacation) was the perfect foil for the collection of said bricks. I told him to gather 365 bricks that I can build into a tower. I assumed he, like me, would grab basic bricks in various colors.

He surprised me. He not only brought me bricks that were varied in color, he picked out bricks that look like windows and fences and palm trees; bricks that were big, small, curved, angled, hollow. I asked him how I could build a tower with these. He responded, "Why would you just want to build a tower? You could build anything! Don't you want to see what this will be at the end?"

I stared, pole-axed, because, yes, I do want to see what it will be at the end. Here I fancy myself a creative soul and my preteen just blew my mind.

What my son inadvertently made me realize is that we are all made of a million different kinds of bricks; all varied, all waiting to be put on the board. As adults, we tend to lose our imagination, our sense of adventure. We put too much emphasis on which bricks we are used to, which ones make us most comfortable in our tower-building.

Along with the daily grind of just placing a brick, we must remember to add color, texture, weird angles and odd shapes to our boards. Life, like LEGOS, is a much fuller, fantastical journey when we add endless possibilities.

However we visualize our life's journey, we all need to tune back in to our inner child; explore options, embrace differences, enjoy as many steps as possible.

I can't wait to see what my new tower will become. What will yours be?

- Jen Dean of Hinsdale is a former contributing columnist. Readers can email her at [email protected].