“The moment you doubt whether you can fly, you cease forever to be able to do it.”
In the above quote from the timeless classic, Peter Pan, J.M. Barrie simply and beautifully illustrates the massive change we all go through from childhood to adulthood where many of us forget how to fly. I had once forgotten how to fly, but am one of the few fortunate ones who remembered how.
Most of us know we can’t live in Neverland forever; but we should all visit from time to time. Allowing ourselves to feel the wonder and freedom of childhood which fills our soul, gives us energy, and makes us want to be the best version of ourselves.
In balancing all five of our core areas - mindset, relationships, emotional health/giving back, career and finance, and physical health - it can be hard to prioritize joy. Most of us have real responsibilities and can’t live full time in Neverland while managing our finances and raising a family.
I’m here to tell you, though, you DO need to find your childlike wonder on a regular basis to ensure you’re filling your emotional health core so you can FIRE ON ALL CYLINDERS.
Have you ever caught yourself watching “Finding Nemo” after your kids go to bed? Or singing “Let It Go” by yourself while you’re getting ready for work? These movies still touch our souls as adults because they tap into the inner child in us that still craves adventure and magic. There are rides at Disney World that have 3 hour lines chock-full of grown men and women who want to feel the rush of flying through the world of Avatar on the back of a banshee. Joy and wonder and excitement may change as we get older, but it shouldn’t end.
One of the ways I find my childlike wonder these days is to see experiences that I’ve been taking for granted through the eyes of my child. Watching his eyes light up during a fireworks show helps me to see the vivid colors and feel the loud booms with excitement again. He gets excited every time a big truck pulls up next to us. The bigger the better! Can you imagine as an adult getting pure unbridled joy from a semi slowing down your evening commute? I can. Because that enthusiasm and wonder is contagious.
Sometimes I’ll be in the car alone and see a semi and think “Oh yeah, that’s a big one!” and laugh to myself because Wyatt isn’t even there. But in that moment, I found happiness in the ordinary. It’s a gift Wyatt has given to me that keeps my emotional health in check.
So, when you go for that run this weekend, go ahead and imagine you are being chased by a demogorgan. Take a hike through the woods and stop to marvel at the size of the paw prints you see (unless they are REALLY big, then don’t stop. Run like the wind, Forrest!). Feel the ice cold crunchiness of the snow in your hand and maybe even take a little taste (not if it’s yellow though. Never if it’s yellow.) Allow yourself to be silly and free. Find YOUR happiness in the everyday.
“Now, think of the happiest things
It's the same as having wings
Let's all try it, just once more
Look! We're rising off the floor
Jiminy! Oh my! We can fly!
You can fly! We can fly!”
-You Can Fly! You Can Fly! You Can Fly!