Curiosity Keeps Us Young
Love and Wonder Bring Us Closer to Happiness
Staying Young at Heart
Some people seem to age at a much slower pace than others. People I have met often think I am ten years younger than I am. I think that is because I love to laugh and play. In 2001, I married a very playful, thoughtful man. In 2004, we were blessed with a daughter to laugh and play with. Good genes notwithstanding, the gift of aging at a slower pace is directly associated with the energy we bring into the world. The quality of our relationships with our world and all the creatures we share this world with matters a great deal. There is so much to learn and do that it could take more than one lifetime to fit it all in! Why not embrace it all with love?
People who keep their sense of curiosity about the world and the way it works keep the flow of energy around them vibrant and full of charisma. They attract others to them because they are curious about who they are and where they come from. They are good listeners because they genuinely care about the person speaking to them. They are accepting and eager to see the similarities between themselves and others, similarities that unify, instead of the differences that separate. They are magnets for friends who are willing to support them in accomplishing what they are called to do with their lives.
Lifelong learners keep young because their brains are busy with wrapping axons, dendrites, and synapses around new information. They do so by reading and by asking "what if?" of the things around them. They may fall on their face as they stumble over the answers to their questions, but they will pick themselves up and brush themselves off with a smile. They are not afraid to admit they are wrong about something, or to "fail" at finding an answer in the first place they look. They only look for more places to explore the hidden treasures of our planet, to see how things interact with each other. They also surround themselves with people who enjoy doing the same.
Children delight in the wonders of the world and are enthusiastic about engaging others in doing the same. My daughter has the spirit of a scientist, artist, and storyteller. It's a fantastic combination. She is the person who inspires me to put down my pen and paper once in a while and observe the world outside our door for an afternoon. Together, we have thrown the cloak of wonder about our shoulders and wandered around with a magnifying glass to see small things more closely. Some of the things we have recently observed include:
Following the path of a cricket as it walks across my bedroom walls and ceiling. We wonder if it thinks my wall seems like grass. The cricket must realize it is trapped when the wall does not smell like the grass that it is used to. It is next seen crawling toward the window. It must want to find a way out of our home and back into the world of grass and flowers that it enjoys hopping around.
Admiring a pretty dragonfly perched on a sign. My daughter shared that she has seen them whizz past her as she rides her tricycle around our co-housing village. She is fascinated by its flight and return to the sign, which bears a vine of morning glories with nectar for it to drink. She is also fascinated by its face, amazed at the detail she can see in its eyes and antennae while it sits patiently, allowing her to look so closely.
Putting out our finger for a ladybug to climb on. Last fall, swarms of ladybugs flew in on the west wind one warm, sunny afternoon. They managed to crawl into our home by the dozens. Because they are so valuable to gardeners for the service they provide by eating the pests that would otherwise ravage plants, we like to save as many of them as possible. She usually coaxes them onto a forefinger and into her hand, then places them gently outside on our back deck, or out front on our porch. Have you ever sniffed a ladybug? A ladybug smells sweet, like a walk through a meadow on a breezy, sunny summer's day.
Life is like a bowl of strawberry jello with cream on top ~
This is a book about leading by example for mothers who desire to live thoughtfully. I read it while I was pregnant with my daughter and enjoy flipping through the pages now and then.
Some of the things my daughter wonders about include:
1.) Is there anyone in the world who has a pet dinosaur, or a pet mouse?
2.) Is there anyone in the world who is a Fairy Godmother?
3.) Are there caves made of dog bones?
4.) Is there a world where bears dress like humans and are called "Fozzi"?
5.) Is there anyone in the world named "Clip"? or "Strawberry"?
6.) What if Americans spoke British English while the British spoke American English? Or the French spoke English while the English spoke French?
7.) What are light bulbs and periwigs?
Some of these questions may seem to us to have obvious, short answers, others seem a little goofy. They are a beginning, and children deserve to have such fancies if they are willing to keep asking "why"? It is part of the wonder of childhood. Why leave scientific observation to scientists? We deserve to see the world for ourselves and find the truth about what we experience in a new way. Watson and Crick wrote a thesis about the "Double Helix" based on images seen in a dream. Darwin saw nature as teeming with life for its own sake. We are part of that life and are meant to enjoy it, to know it well.
Asking Meaningful Questions
A close cousin to Science is Philosophy. Both fields are about asking meaningful questions about our world, then creating ways to answer those questions. Philosophy and Theology are related in that both are important in serving the soul, and are a study requirement for divinity students who strive to prepare to serve people in a church. All three are related to how the elements of our world interact with each other, on either a physical or a metaphysical level. One could argue in favor of making connections between science and theology. My husband's uncle does because he is both a physicist and a devout Christian.
Spend Lots of Time Outside
My conclusion is that now is the time to turn off the television and throw it to the hyenas! Even they may be smart enough to avoid it. The waves suck the life out of the brains of those who watch it and the content broadcasted on it breeds fear and division. We will add years to our lives by avoiding it ourselves. We can find what we need to know about what is happening in the world through reliable newspapers and on National Public Radio. There is so much out there to bring us together, so go out and get involved. Before you know it, you will see more familiar, friendly faces walking down the street, more hands to clasp and arms outstretched for a warm and welcoming greeting. Such things add years to our lives. They are chemically beneficial to all humans. And if you live in a co-housing village as we do, the occurrence of such positive encounters increases geometrically.
Pictures of things that inspire playfulness and wonder
Let the Fun Begin...and Never End
It is time to place a vase of flowers in the middle of our table, chant at dawn, walk labyrinths, and hike on new trails that lead to new places. Let us spend some time chatting with neighbors on porches and making stone soup for a crowd. Let us join hands with others to feed the hungry, find homes for the homeless, and clothe those dressed in rags. The story of our neighbor is much more interesting than the latest sitcom or bit of celebrity news! Beautifying our parks and then enjoying them will make the world smaller and happier for everyone. Try it
Curious Links to Follow
- Top 10 Ways to Improve Your Brain Fitness
Brain fitness and brain aging are complex areas just beginning receive research attention. What we do know is that 'use it or lose it' applies to the brain as much as to the body. Challenge your brain through these ideas for mental exercise.
- Resiliency and Longevity
Article on thriving, surviving and being resilient by Resiliency Center host Al Siebert, Ph.D.
The Peace of the Buddha be with you ~
Buddhism applies to people of all ages who want to make a positive, peaceful lasting impact on the world.
© 2010 Karen Szklany Gault
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