Childlike not Childish

Photo: Guillermo Loria

Photo: Guillermo Loria

I live my life by a cliche…”live each day as if it were your last.”

Cliches are cliches for a reason. They hold real meaning. But we’re fed them in such a way that it becomes repetitive. Eventually, they’re met with eye rolls and tired sighs. But every now and then someone grabs onto it and wrings out every last bit of truth. Drinking it up until it becomes a part of who they are. This has always been me. Not that I live every day like it’s my last…that would be impossible and exhausting, but I blaze my trail with this as my ethos.

Sometimes I am self-conscious about this and I wonder if it will fade like it has with so many others. I wonder how sustainable it is. But this is part of the fear conditioning I’ve been given growing up in an individualistic capitalist society. The other day I asked a good friend if my lifestyle and perspective is childish?
He said, “Childlike, yes. Childish, no.”

Those two words have completely different meanings. One positive and embedded within our nature. The other negative and lacking in intelligence and self control. As humans we are born with a childlike curiosity. But slowly, we get in our heads that at some point we must “grow up”. While some are able to maintain their childlikeness while committing to a career, family, and mortgage there are so many that don’t.

I am more motivated and driven right now than I have been since the accident. And I owe that to travel. I owe that to feeding my inner child with new experiences. Three weeks ago (before my trip) I told my friend my plans for the rest of the Winter: staying somewhere familiar where I can have a strong routine, doing more or less the same thing. This is what I felt like I needed. I wanted to be a regular at a local restaurant and coffee shop. I wanted to be part of a book club. And I wanted to have, more or less, a predictable day in and day out. We talked again when I got back. I told him about my plans to go back to Costa in a couple weeks, my new sense of purpose, mine and Natali’s new business plan, and taking spanish classes.
There she is.”' he said, “This sounds much more like you. Honestly, when we talked before your trip, the only thing that sounded like something you would do is jumping into ice baths.”

He was right. That wasn’t me. I had fallen into the comforts that come with predictability. I realized that our childlikeness is like a muscle. If it’s not regularly stimulated and exercised it becomes weak. Eventually, you forget about it all together. But then you do some new activity or movement that activates it, and for days you’re hyper-aware of its existence. Until the soreness fades and if you don’t continue to work it it’ll be forgotten again.

It’s easy to forget about our inner child. It’s easy to believe that your comfortable routine and predictable way of life is part of who you are and what suits you. For a brief moment I believed that for myself. My childlikeness hadn’t been exercised for six months. But this trip reminded me of my purpose and brought me back to me.

I encourage all of you to tap into your inner child. I’m not saying you need to go to Costa Rica and SUP rivers (although I highly recommend it). I’m saying when you travel internationally don’t stay at a resort, get out of the bubble. I’m saying try something new; take dance lessons, learn to scuba dive, join a rec soccer team. It doesn’t have to be huge or expensive, the thing or act itself doesn’t matter. What matters is how it makes you feel. Does it bring you joy? Does it fill you with a new unfamiliar energy? Does it challenge you? Is it uncomfortable (because it should be at times)? Don’t lose your curiosity for this life and this world. There is so much to see and do!

Life is too f#%king short to be boring!