As a kid, everything we experience is new and exciting. We are seeing, hearing, feeling and learning things for the very first time and it sticks with us; it excites us. The colors, the sensations, the smells, they all eventually come to remind us of a specific memory. They remind us of moment in time that we can relive so vividly that it feels like we're back in that happy moment. So why is it that as we grow older we lose that sense of wonder, that sense of newness and happiness with the usual?
From a developmental perspective, we know that babies and young children have no sense of object permanence. Every time they look away, they forget what came before that moment. They are able to view each moment and experience as completely new until they develop more. This definitely helps with that sense of wonder and excitement when every moment feels brand new, but the same can be seen when we're older.
Just like babies and young children, adults have a lot left to learn, experience, and look forward to. No two moments are the same and despite the dullness of routine that comes with growing older also comes the excitement of noticing the differences. Part of the complexity in seeing that as an adult is that we demand more.
We've seen what is right in front of our eyes and so, of course we want what doesn't exist. We want that unreachable, unimaginable perfect moment, object, or thing, and we lose ourselves in the process. We demand and expect so much of our happiness because we think that our desires have to grow along with our bodies, but that isn't true.
True happiness and wonder come from allowing yourself the joy of the little things all around you. The joy of seeing someone smile as you walk past them, or watching the sun shine through the trees perfectly, or even the joy of a good song. Maybe it even comes with looking at a loved one and realizing that happiness isn't always tangible, it isn't always the next destination, or the next big adventure, or even the next big stepping stone in your life.
Happiness can be as simple or as complex as watching something slip out of view and remembering it's still there, even if you can't see it. Even if it's hard to imagine or seemingly impossible to get back or reach. It has no age limit. Going forward it is very important to remember that you can find joy and happiness in imperfections. As seen through the eyes of a child, a happy moment doesn't have to be a perfect one, it can be of varying complexities and still be unforgettable.