A common trait seen among children is their sense of wonder. Whether it is a magic trick, an exotic animal or a breathtaking view, children will not hold back in expressing how amazed they are and how excited they are to see it. When they learn or experience something new and amazing, children will be ecstatic that their horizons are now broader. This is because the young, curious mind is always hungry for new information and experiences, and children care little about being judged for being passionate about something.
As we grow older, we lose our sense of wonder. We become weary from the stress of life and our hearts become dulled to experiencing joy and excitement. Instead of relying on our ability to feel amazement as a source of happiness, we rely on external factors such as the attention of other people, chemicals such as alcohol or cigarettes, or passive entertainment such as watching television. As we use it less and less, our sense of wonder wilts away.
This is unfortunate because this sense of wonder is exactly what we need to counteract the stress and misery that adult life brings. Even though we have grown up to become cynical and – sadly – boring, there is still so much in the world to be amazed by.
Travelling exposes us to new horizons to pursue, new perspectives to see from and new experiences to have. The people around us have countless stories to tell us of their own experiences, if we stop to listen. Even during your ordinary day, you can stop and look up to enjoy the clear blue sky, the colourful sunset and the star-strewn night sky. We are surrounded by amazing things, but we fail to notice them.
The lesson we can learn from children is that it is okay to feel positive emotions and to express them. Because of tradition and societal pressures, we learn to hide or even deny our own emotions because it is seen as a sign of weakness. But we are still creatures ruled by waves of internal emotions, and if we don’t learn how to ride the waves, then the waves will overwhelm us.
Next time you feel miserable, take a minute and look around you: what might a child be amazed by in your surroundings, or in your current life? Consider that the old building you pass on your commute has a rich history spanning centuries. Consider that your “boring” elderly neighbour would have led a life full of excitement, sadness and joy, just like you. Consider the vastness of the universe and how little we know about it, and how insignificant we are in the grand scheme of things.
Be curious. Be amazed. Be excited. You will find it adds so much colour to your life.