Adulthood is this weird, long, sad journey you didn't ask for. Not only did you not ask for it, there really isn't some foolproof way to prepare. No guidebook. No outline. No life hack. No YouTube preparation course.
Somehow in the midst of growing up, we believe in the false idea that everything we do really matters. Like as if school is a real taste of what it’s all going to be like.We get so invested. Study for that test. Acclimate with the latest technology. Build and maintain some social presence. But, most importantly, carve out your place in this world.
Sure, it’s important to have to have some sense of direction, usefulness, and purposefulness, but the trap here is to get so interwoven with the mundane, the everyday stress, that it really becomes us. We stop our wonderment, halt our creativity. Our natural childlike sense of wonder and bewilderment at the universe and all it contains suffers.
We begin our lives looking out. Have you ever seen an infant in a grocery store? I saw one recently grinning ear-to-ear, eyes glassed over with pure, unfiltered bliss, taking in every possible sight and stimuli. She was positively overcome with glee to be in Target’s canned goods section.
It didn't matter where she was. All she knew how to do was observe, absorb, and appreciate. (As infants, we know how to simply be). She fed off of her environment in a way that did nothing more than give her enjoyment, excitement to be alive. She was so happy, it caused me to be happy, an infectious grim spreading across my face before I could try and suppress it in this grotesque desire to be “normal” and fit in at all times (why is smiling without obvious reason painted as “abnormal” by the paintbrush of our society? Who decided that was best?) When you experience what I have, you feel a primal sort of joy that gently nudges at the core or your heart, pleading with you for a moment to circle back to the unlearned person you used to be: your inner child is awake.
A simplistic principle, maybe, but one that infants have mastered and yet we completely forget by the time we have grown up. We stop looking out, and remain looking in. We’re selfishly too caught up with the details of our loves to bother stopping and smelling the roses (or Target cans), and what a terrible shame that is.
In a world that has normalized necks drooped, backs hunched, and knuckles stiffened in an attempt at constant connectivity and entertainment, do not become so aloof as to forget to indulge in the absolute splendor that surrounds you at every waking minute. The shapes your infant self saw in the clouds are still there, waiting excitedly to be discovered by you again. Stand on top of the largest hill, beside the tallest tree, or the most powerful wave, knowing that you are but a blip; you are a fleck of life that is here to grow, to feel, and to perish, so you'd better start feeling small.