There are so many precious moments that every new parent gets to experience. Birth, for one, baby’s arrival at home, the reactions of friends and family’s and potentially new siblings, first gurgles, first smile, first crawls…the list goes on. A newborn baby has the most amazing potential to put all of our lives into stark perspective because they’re literally experiencing everything for the very first time. Enter, the rise of the Baby Photoshoot.
So when we consider how exciting life is for newborns, and how they navigate their lives moving forward, what can we learn as adults from our younger tribe members? Is there a way that we can recapture those blissful, carefree days of infancy and then the transition to being a toddler, and then to being a child? Wouldn’t it be awesome if we could, just for a day experience the world as they do, with innocent eyes yet untainted by all the ugliness in the world?
Just imagine how our perspectives would change on just about everything if we could learn how to experience life, as a child?
We’re going to unpack that thought a little more.
‘Growing old is mandatory, but growing up – is optional’ – Walt Disney
First, let’s shake up a few memories.
Do you remember what it was like when you were a child? You had no worries, save for bathing the dog and trying to push your luck with curfew and bedtime. No one had any say over your enthusiasm and boy did you not take ‘no’ for an answer.
If you wanted to try something – you did and sure, that might have caused a cut finger or grazed knee, and yet – you survived. Rules? More like suggestions.
Opinions were none of your concern and taking action certainly never needed any spurring on, but it was fun when you got that support anyway. No matter how brazen the events or brave the jumps into rivers, or dives from rocks – we somehow, still survived.
So then, how do we live as adults – but, without losing our childish enthusiasm?
We have a few thoughts, like – when do we stop thinking about our children as babies? There’s wisdom in there for us as adults too.
Take on challenges as if you’ve never heard the word failure. As a child, we never even thought of not succeeding at something. Building that treehouse? Done! River raft? Done! It is that sort of enthusiasm that we need to learn how to get back as adults – unless you work for the secret service, it is highly unlikely that your potential mistake will bring about the end of all things, and frankly, even if it doesn’t work out great for you if you still have your life and your limb – you’ll also have the knowledge, and that will empower you to make a better decision and take a bigger risk next time around.
GET AN INJURY
We mean it. (OK, we don’t mean the kind that’s going to need a hip replacement), but remember when a scab was a badge of honour? Get back there. Run in the park with your kids, do the sack race, fall out of a go-cart, live a little more fearlessly – who cares about the potential injury – if it doesn’t kill you or maim you, you’re going to be fine – but the bliss of having lived carefree and sans any thought of consequence, will remain with you long after your scab has healed.
LOOK DUMB, REGULARLY
Those idiots sat around the boardroom table at work are not going to form part of the final analyses with the Great Accountant comes to balance your books at the end of your life, so ask the dumb question, don’t assume you know everything. Ask about the big words that don’t make contextual sense, and when it’s all done – ask some more. You will never know too much and you will never know enough, and be assured, the gawkers that will look the worst in front of the boss, are the ones that were trying to make you look stupid.
WHEN WAS THE LAST TIME YOU DID SOMETHING FOR THE FIRST TIME?
Yeah, yeah we’ve all heard this one a hundred times but riddle me this? When last did you try something new? When last did you try mountain climbing at the gym? When last did you go to the gym? How about that book you’ve wanted to write and that language you’ve wanted to learn – remember how easy it was when you were a child and were suddenly speaking French when that exchange student came to stay?
Human beings are naturally inclined towards learning and the only thing that holds us back as we get older is not the want or ability, but rather the clutter. There always seems to be something else that needs doing first.
Yet, as children, we couldn’t pack enough into our days. Sailing paper boats down streams was just the start of it, there were still mud pies to be baked, shop keepers to be played and doctors to be born.
…AND THAT BRINGS US TO OUR FAVOURITE: DON’T TAKE NO FOR AN ANSWER!
When did your dad say that you couldn’t have that new bike and more to the point, how long was it before he caved?
As adults, we have been conditioned to accept authority as the final word in our lives and when we don’t succeed, we turn a little surly. When in fact, we’ve even coined a phrase for those who are better at it than we are ‘the squeaky wheel gets the most oil’.
Be the squeaky wheel. Don’t just accept that ‘no’ is a final answer – it’s just – an answer, and if you present your case with sufficient confidence and you believe in the validity of your presentation, then accept that standing your ground may have you look like a petulant child – but, who cares? Let’s rephrase that – who really cares? The fact is that everyone else is trying to get ahead too – you’re just the only one prepared to ‘next level’ your attempt.
The joy of living doesn’t just come from ‘stuff’ – it comes from laughing until you can’t anymore and crying because the laughter has gone on for far too long.
Next time you see your kids doing it, get out there and roll on the grass with them – you’ll be surprised at what you might learn.