Do you remember what it was to be like a child? Seeing everything for the first time?
I doubt many of you can retrace that far back. Me neither of course. But, if you take the time to watch a small child, it isn’t hard to notice just how full of wonder they are about life.
Everything — even the simplest of things — are filled with questions of how and why. Life for them is a magical playground with unbelievable moments around each and every corner.
And it’s beautiful to see. They interact with everything in a much deeper way.
It’s refreshing to pay attention to and it makes you realize that even though growing up has made us wiser, it has left us with a lot less wonder about life. We have replaced that wonder with the feeling of normality.
We have seen trees, we have felt snowflakes, we know what rain is, we have seen animals, we have smelt flowers, we have walked on grass… We have experienced all of those so many times before that they raise few or no questions at all.
In fact, we no longer even realize we are experiencing them.
A few days ago I watched a small child picking up a leaf from the street while his mom was talking to a friend. I saw the child looking at the leaf so full of wonder and so deep in thought. It made me smile.
From the bench I was sitting on, I also took a leaf and looked at it. I held it in my hand, and I thought, “In’t this incredible? How is this real? How can this be? The structure, the feeling, the color?”
I felt amazement about the world, amazement that I am part of it all — all triggered by a simple leaf. I took a glance back to where the child and his mom had been. They had moved along and were walking away from me, but I saw the child still holding on to that leaf — and it made me smile all over again.
If we could trade our jaded, grown up eyes with those of a child, a simple leaf would be enough to make you feel glad to be alive. How incredible is that when you think about it? It only takes a small adjustment to our own eyes to make us see in that way.
Take a walk outside after reading this, and take notice of everything you witness. The wind blowing through the trees; the warmth of the sun on your skin; how the raindrops feel, falling all that way and landing on you; the people, the smell of the air, your movements, a passing leaf … And look at it all as if you are seeing it for the first time in your life.
Look at the wind, feel the sun and the raindrops, look at the people, smell the air, feel your movements and pick up that leaf. Because children see everything for the first time, they pay so much more attention to it and therefore they connect with it so much deeper. They experience living so much more intensely than we do. Yet, the only thing they do differently is that they witness everything as something new, something unique.
If we can be like a child again and make that adjustment to our own eyes — look at everything as new, as unique — life will become so much more interesting and richer. And by pretending you have never seen this all before, you’ll actually come to see things you never have seen before.
Now, if you beg my pardon, I’m going to get my jacket, and I hope to have you join me.
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Author: Jellis Vaes
Jellis Vaes is a world traveler, a photographer, writer and the founder of Inner Picture Stories, a blog that recombines two of life’s gateways: travel and wisdom.