This afternoon I had the opportunity to spend some quality time with my 10-month old niece, Lillian. Every book we read, every block we toppled over, every song we danced to, and every morsel she ate broadcasted itself across her beautiful face. She was living life to the fullest: enjoying every new sensation, idea, thought, and chance to learn. Everything was new and exciting–from the taste of a pickle to the feel of a dog’s fur against her skin. Life was fresh to her. Nothing had become dull or habitual yet because every experience was literally new to her. It was eye-opening to be reminded that we each start with a blank slate. We were not born with habits. We did not have a set routine at birth. We did not know anything about our lives until we created our own first experiences.
As adults, how often do we become stuck in a rut? Forgetting about the excitement of simply living, breathing, and walking, we trudge on through our days without being fully present in what we are tasting, hearing, or learning. We go about our lives in sleep mode rather than engaging in our experiences. When was the last time you savored the tart taste of a berry, thought about the strength and coordination necessary to stand on two legs, or enjoyed the soft sound of a butterfly’s wings flapping above your head? There are so many things we take for granted as our time on this earth increases. But it doesn’t have to be that way. They more we are mindful and focus on each task, opportunity, and experience, the more we can enjoy and keep learning from them. What if we all devoted a few minutes of each day to cultivating our sense of childlike wonderment? What if we kept our inner child learning and growing throughout our entire lives? How would your thoughts change? How would your life change? How would the world change? So, go ahead, buy yourself that rainbow pinwheel to play with, go outside and dance in the rain, and savor your dinner with your eyes closed. Just because you’re an adult doesn’t mean you have to grow up.