No Imagination? Are You A Boring Grown-Up? Just Borrow A Kid’s Imagination

Melissa Llarena
Creative Enlightenment
5 min readJun 25, 2021


Your imagination may just be under a sofa cushion or somewhere with lost change. You may never find it. It could be stuck in the “Land of Single Socks.” That’s common amongst us adults which is why for anyone who has a kid or can borrow a kid you are in luck.

On my quest to be the coolest mom ever, I decided to call up a children’s book illustrator. My sons have read Sofia Valdez, Future Prez, The Questioneers by Andrea Beaty so I opted to impress them by talking to an illustrator of a book they would know.

In comes David Roberts. David is an epic illustrator. Think fashion- house-worthy illustrations. On my podcast, An Interview With Melissa Llarena, David was so lovely to be a guest. This was actually David’s first-ever podcast appearance.

His perspective when it comes to us adults is that we can trust our kids to lead the way. Kids can guide us. David shared how much it meant to him as a young schoolboy when he would be appreciated for his artistry by adults. This got me thinking.

There’s something special about an adult who admires a child for his or her creativity. When was the last time you admired a kid for his or her imagination? Actually, when was the last time you were admired like a kid for your imagination?

What if the reason why so few of us are living life with the sense of wonder it deserves (because we only get one) is because we are not using our imagination? Maybe we misplaced our imagination? It’s in some storage unit and we just forgot to fetch it? Think about it. As grown-ups, we get to make the rules. Yet, some of us are turning our own living rooms into untouchable museums that are off-limits. If we had the imagination of our kids, our living rooms would be bouncy house rooms. My kids have asked. I said no. We have neighbors. Some of our own family dinner table conversations have started to sound scripted. “How was school, dear?” Seriously, we couldn’t throw in a corny joke to make someone fart out loud? All this for grins and giggles. Where’s the harm in lightening up a bit? Mr. Grown-Up?

It makes me wonder. If creativity and imagination rang your doorbell, would you even know what to do with them? Maybe our kids would. Skip the cutlery. My kids would hand that duo ice cream in a shoe if I let them.

So, where does this leave us? Adults who could use a sense of wonder right now? What is “adulting” costing us? It shouldn’t have stolen our quirky spark? As adults, we can still make room for our own imagination. It’s actually essential to survive this thing called life let alone thrive. How can we expect to resolve any challenges when we keep turning to old solutions or tried practices? Where is our reservoir of colorful and unexpected tools that we can play with? David respects children as their own mini-authors. He actually draws for himself and trusts kids enough that they can interpret his artistry in a way that will serve them best. What about us? When was the last time you sought and trusted the kid inside of you? What’s missing for many is respecting our own sense of wonder. We are walking around like we know it all. Yet, we don’t have a clue about what’s unexplored or unimagined. Our calendars are clogged with predictable talent dog shows (yes, some corporate meetings are really this) and little if no space for probing, touching, smelling, cuddling, or reinterpreting what’s best for our spirits?

My take is supported by decades of career coaching responsible adults. My pain suffers for those who refuse to let their inner kids come out and play every once-and-awhile. The thing is that a kid knows when they are not wanted. After a while, a kid who is continuously hidden is not going to want to leave her room. That kid might even run away. This is the kid I want to help you find, bring back, and make room for in your life. My thinking is that the kid who you need to listen to is the little you. If you let him or her lead you sometimes then you won’t need a drink or maybe even a shrink sometimes.

Hear me out:

What would a kid say if they had to rush to eat your sushi dinner at the office yet again? How would your inner kid react if he could speak on your behalf at home? How would you as a kid spend your weekend? Where would you as a kid turn to for entertainment? What made you laugh back then? Where is the energy you had back when you’d wake up at 5:30 am and do jumping jacks? What were you thinking back then? This is personal for me as a mom of three kids who have more wonder in their pinky than I would know what to do with. It’s this fascination with life that makes a trip to the park always unusual and unexpected for us all.

My kid’s fun ridiculousness thrill me (most days). Where is your thrill? Many folks have come to expect Ground Hog’s days. The same thoughts are thought. The same words are said. Life may be so predictable and taken for granted that unless someone smashes your car you may not feel much of anything. So how about this instead: why not just smash your adult thinking? Ironically, the people most admired on the planet tend to be those with an overactive sense of possibilities and wonders.

They don’t have a cap on what’s possible. Becoming a man or woman doesn’t have to mean losing your inner kid. Instead, it should mean that as adults we have the know-how to use our inner kid instincts to help us when being a grown-up has taken its toll. Imagine that? Knowing how to enlist the help of our inner kid to help us activate our imagination out of gloom and into unfiltered joy? Make that sh*t a double for me!

P.S. I am writing a book to help us all reawaken our human spirit. If you’d like to follow my personal journey or subscribe to my weekly newsletters then sign-up right here. You’ll gain access to my 75 podcast episodes meant to inspire your creativity, courage, and sense of curiosity PLUS I’ll add fries with that by sending you my 9 tips to feel hopeful, empowered, and limitless on your career + life journey. All of this and more located on the same page. Keep exploring! Life can be fun and filled with wonder even if you alphabetize your spice cabinet or would never tell colleagues you’re addicted to TikTok. I see the inner kid in everyone. You are still magical to me and your dreams should continue to light you up.



Melissa Llarena
Creative Enlightenment

I coach executives on how to dissect & deliver a perfect #jobinterview @TuckSchool Author of №1 #HR interview @Forbes @LinkedIn #mom