On Saturday morning I got to wake up bright and early and be the babysitter for my nephew Wesley. I swear I am not biased when I say that he is the cutest little 4 1/2 year old alive, so seeing his face first thing was a great way to start my day. We spent the morning eating breakfast, watching cartoons and playing trucks. Once we were ready to get out of our pajamas we got ready for the day and I took him to Carson Park because I promised him he could go down the "big slides". I hadn't been to this park in quite some time and lets just say the slides do not seem as big to me anymore and I don't fit in them quite like I used to. Regardless, we still raced and I lost every time.
We were at the park for over an hour and no we did not spend all of our time on the slides. There was some monkey bar action, running through tunnels and spinning on the tire swing as well. Actually, there was way too much swinging on the tire because we dealt with a little motion sickness mess in the car on the way home. I won't go into any more detail then that.
When I think back to that day, yes I remember the negative consequence to our playing, but the thing that sticks out more is the image of Wesley's face. He was smiling the entire time. His eyes were so electric, taking in all of the playground and the look of pure joy he had deciding where to play next. He did exactly what he felt like doing, and if that meant riding the tire swing five times, that is what he did. The idea of a negative consequence from that couldn't have been further from his mind. And when he did experience a set back, he wasn't down on himself or worry about being judged, he just moved on.
He inspires me to live like that. Just think how amazing it would be to constantly go full force at the things that give us pure joy? To spend our days choosing between things we truly love to do. Not letting the idea of failure or consequences stop us or change our focus. I can't think of a better life, so what keeps us from living that way? I think the difference between adults and children is that our choices are influenced by more than just our own happiness. Sometimes our choices are affected by possible hardships or consequences, but those are a part of life, so why do we give possibilities such power? Sometimes what we truly want is swayed by societal pressures about income and status. We end up placing value in profit and tangible rewards, but since when did being happy become less important? And sometimes, we let judgement from others keep us from pursuing our dreams.
I guess all of this is on my mind because I am at a point in my life where I have a lot of options. We all have options. We can either start building our lives into what we want them to be or we can build them according to what society wants for us. We can place value in our own happiness or we can place value in things like status and income. We can live our life for ourselves, or we can live it to avoid judgement and disapproval.
So how do we make sure we are living the life we want? For me, it means I try to live more like a child. As I move forward making decisions that will shape my future, I want to put all of my effort into the things that make me the happiest. My goal is to accept the responsibilities of life that can't be changed and commit to filling the rest of it with what I truly want. Making my happiness the priority and not letting outside pressure shape my life for me. I have a feeling if we all let our passions guide us through life, values like money, status, and approval from others wouldn't be so high on our list.