While being enchanted by the unalloyed exuberance of a group of young children frolicking on the beach recently, I began reflecting: When did I begin losing that kind of boundless joy? How difficult would it be, really, to recapture that exuberance? And, what is preventing me from doing so?
Although this is hardly the first time my wondering has travelled down this path, in the few days since watching those children, the time I spent recalling my transition from childhood to adolescence brought a fresh insight to me. Have you ever witnessed a group of teenagers tapping into uninhibited exuberance? I am quite certain I have not. More to the point, Pat as an adolescent would no sooner have acted like those children on the beach than he would have scaled Mt. Everest. Think of what any teenage cohort would say to one of theirs caught acting like those children - "Grow up!", "Act your age!", "You are so immature!", etc.
Truth be told, even as a thinking adult, I've probably said - or at least thought - similar things on those occasions when I've observed an adolescent acting child-like. And there's the answer to question #1 in my opening paragraph above. Part of the price paid for becoming an adolescent is a diminished ability to tap into boundless joy.
This moment the second and third questions from my first paragraph are not as hard to untangle. It will not be at all difficult to recapture that exuberance if I stay in today's mindful space. The only thing preventing me from doing so is me. If I let go of all the stories attached to "grow up", "act your age" and "you are so immature", in no time at all I can be just like those children again, wide-eyed and immersed in the wonder of the beach, myself, and the magical world that surrounds each of us.