The other day I came across the most heart-warming of surprises on YouTube. It’s a video that went viral, and it’s pretty clear to me as to why. For those of you who missed it, here is the link.
It’s very simple, a little girl experiencing the rain for the first time. For anybody who has ever seen rain before, this may simply be passed off as a mundane meteorological working. It may even be seen as dreary and inconvenient. Yet the absolute delight she feels, and the way she marvels at what she considers to be a wondrous phenomenon is incredibly touching. Above all, it serves as a reminder to us that there was a time when we too experienced life in this way; exciting, mysterious and full of simple pleasures to be relished. Of course, such things never did vanish; instead our eyes chose to see them in a different way. Maybe now is the time to go back to seeing the world with such childlike wonder, savoring the natural environment that surrounds us on a daily basis and making a conscious effort to stop and take note of the beauty we got so used to seeing that it became commonplace. Not only is such splendor limited to our landscape, if not to the people around us. We can constantly be reminded of the sweet, funny and quirky nature of our fellow human beings; the grandparents still holding hands tightly as they hobble down the street, the chuckle of a baby who gazes into the eyes of a perfect stranger and the lonely-looking lady who feeds squirrels in a shower of autumn leaves.
There is much to be admired about the way in which children behave. Here are five more characteristics that we once had and that we should strive to regain as adults:
The ability to express love
Do you remember a time when you drew pictures of stick-people holding hands? Scrawled above or below would have been a dedication to your parents, professing your love. Or the hushed confessions you made to your first boyfriend at the age of five, sitting on the carpet in the reading corner, little hands clasped as you listened to the teacher’s story. You did not withhold your words and your sentiments, instead you launched them boldly into the universe. How were they met? Usually with gratitude and reciprocation.
How about the time when you communicated through giggles and found the humour in almost everything? Psychologists have found that the average four-year-old laughs around three hundred times a day, whilst the average forty-year-old only manages four. That’s a real discrepancy, particularly given the beneficial effects of laughter. What can you do to add more humour into your life?
Do you remember the time when you believed you could be a pilot, a pop star, or just about anything your little heart desired? You never doubted that your wildest dreams could come true, and with very good reason. All realities begin with the tiny seed of a dream. Though we may not have watered that seed in the intervening years, if you still harbour some kind of deep desire to do something or be a certain way, it may not be too late. As the old saying goes, ‘where there’s a will, there’s a way’. Think of ways in which you can realise your dream on some level, and above all, recapture the spirit of self-confidence you had at a young age, when society hadn’t filled you with the fear of ‘failure’. If you don’t try, you will never know.
I used to have a shed in my back yard. That shed could transform into a shop, a house, Santa’s grotto, a school, a hairdresser’s…you name it! When we’re young, we’re naturally creative as we are naturally uninhibited. Everybody has some creativity inside of them, though they may not think so. Perhaps the jobs they do may not give rise to the use of imagination. In any case, creative energy exists and needs to be released. Are you engaging in fulfilling creative activity? It doesn’t have to form a part of your work, it could instead be something you do in your free time. Why not try writing, painting, photography or cookery? Perhaps even learning a new language or skill. How do you know what you like if you’ve never experimented. People often stick to that which they know, yet leaving our comfort zone can be very enriching indeed.
How about the days when you came up with an absolutely random idea and just went through with it, regardless of the consequences? I don’t necessarily suggest recklessness, if not frequent breaks from the routine to add a little excitement into what can otherwise be the linearity of life. As a little girl, we climbed fences, went on adventures with our bikes and much like the girl in the rain video, enjoyed being soaked to the skin when caught in a sudden rainstorm. And you know what? We felt really alive.