I believe at heart we’re all still curious children, even if some of us have forgotten it amid the responsibilities and troubles of adulthood. As kids, we played pretend and dreamed up stories, never slowing down long enough to consider the oppressive burden of reality, never pausing even for an instant to contemplate whether our ideas were logical. Back then, it didn’t matter; all that really mattered was the exploration, the new experiences that existed only within the realms of our imaginations. Now, as teenagers and adults, most of us have lost that unbridled curiosity. Most of us have forgotten what it was like to constantly explore and learn, but it’s a skill with which we should never part.
Life is a collection of memories, individual stories and moments that constitute our time on this planet. Some of them we remember with uncontrollable laughter, some with irrepressible tears, but all are important to who we are. Curiosity leads to new exploration, new experiences that shape us. Without it, we would never try new things, never waver from our comfort zones enough to find what we’re truly capable of. There is so much undeniable beauty in this world, extraordinary kindness and resiliency often lost against the smoky forefront of publicized death, terror, and inhumanity. There is so much out there worth seeing, worth experiencing, and we will never realize how vast it is if we continuously wait for it to find us.
Exploring doesn’t have to mean circling the globe, though it certainly can. It might be smaller than that, closer to home, something as seemingly insignificant as trying a new restaurant across town. It’s a minuscule break in the minutiae of daily life, a small change that can open the door to substantial possibilities. We grow as people by pushing our limits and expanding our horizons. If we allow ourselves to be curious, we’ll find our own adventure.
Whether in the urban jungle, the suburban sprawl, or the rural town, there is always a way to explore. New experiences are all around us, wanting to be discovered. Even with all the sorrow we see in the news––sorrow that undoubtedly exists in this world––it’s hard to abandon faith in humanity for those who have exited their comfort zones enough to witness the insurmountable love and compassion that still thrives here. Exploring connects people who would otherwise never know each other; it creates a universal web of intertwined memories and lives that are forever altered. It opens our minds and our hearts to things we didn’t even know existed.
Life is about the unexpected, the unforgettable, the undone. So, go on, explore. Wander into a new neighborhood, try unfamiliar food, listen to a different genre of music, watch a film in a foreign language, and never forget how lucky we are to be alive in a place where all these experiences are within reach, waiting for us. After all, when we stop exploring, we stop living.