How to let ‘wonder’ in… and keep it there!
We tend to experience wonder in abundance during our childhood. Going to a favorite movie, heading out to Disneyland or even getting a toy of our choice , everything leads to the feeling of wonder most often. However, as we grow up, we start experiencing less and less of it. Would you be so excited now about getting to watch your favorite movie? Many of us grown-ups might not even have a favorite movie. So what really happens there? Maybe we get so entangled in our grown up lives, our relationships and jobs that nothing seems too good to be true , out of the world or new. Once we start missing this wonder, we can think of ways to get it back if we consider it as an important ingredient in our life mix. We can still choose to feel good about sunrises and sunsets, enjoy the touch of fresh air against our skins and be ready to experience life thinking of it as a big mystery novel waiting to be understood.
Some of us can choose to let go of standard adult benchmark indices of a successful life such as numbers of houses, cars and bank balance. This combination of routine things itself is what slowly creeps out joy off our lives making it seem humdrum. We can choose to look for different metrics that give a sense of meaning and wonderment to us, rather than ones being defined by societal protocol. So what can we do to keep the feeling? Well, the answer is that you need to live and enjoy every moment. Do what you think is right, rather than make your important life choices driven by pressures of convention and society. Below are some that work for me to keep the feeling intact :-
- Have the right partner-in-crime : Life is about partnership, as human beings are social beings and cannot live their lives alone. So first step to living a fulfilling life is often about finding the right partner to share it with. Someone is right for you, if you share your life principles with them, they make you laugh, understand you and are there for you no matter what. You know it when it’s right, in your heart as you can just be yourself with them, and continue to share your life (good and the bad parts) and grow.
- Travel the world : Travelling for a day teaches you more than you can ever learn in one place in a whole year. Imagine, what you can learn if you travel all your life! The metric here is to set a goal as to how many countries or cities you will travel each year and use that as a motivation to keep fulfilling your wish to see different natural and man-made marvels in different parts of the world. There is a lot of diversity in the world to explore, and it helps your mind expand to horizons you may never believe possible otherwise. It is travel that can teach you how similar people are regardless of their age, religion, beliefs, traditions etc. Travelling also teaches you patience and humility.
- Read and Learn : Books are the second best way of learning things, outside of travel. The more we read, the more we open up our mind to learning. Learning new things related to our interests and work is also something that helps us grow over time. You can have metrics such as number of books you read in a year, or new skills you learnt every year.
- Have a support system : The importance of having family, friends and well wishers cannot be understated. They are the ones who believe in us, who stand by us and who are honest with us. If we go through a problem, they would be the one to cheer us up and are the ones we celebrate with when things become alright. As kids, we have many friends and it helps if we continue growing our friends’ circle and making new friends. They teach us a lot depending on stage of life they are in. A toddler can teach you how to be carefree, while someone in middle age can give you a lesson on importance of family. Some metrics could be number of new friends you made every year or something you did every week to make a member of your family happy.
- Treat everyone with kindness : We avoid so much hatred when we treat everyone well; the way we would like to be treated by others. This is crucial for our peace of mind. It is also paramount that we forgive those who did something to harm us and do something to help those who are less privileged than us. Something you can use to measure how you fare here- how many people did you help smile in a week, how many times did you control your anger and avoided saying something you regretted.
- Have Courage : You are bound to fail often if you try something new, courage will be important and is something that will still enable you to not give up easy and keep moving. It is also something that will help you take risks where you need to, in order to get closer to the life you want. No one is born courageous, you develop it over time if you try and it is the light that helps you through resiliently. A metric of courage could be how many goals of yours did you complete in a year, how many calculated risks did you take, how many setbacks did you overcome to achieve your goal.
- Focus on a healthy mind and body : Last but surely not the least, we cannot forget that we must have healthy minds and bodies to enjoy the lives which means relax and unwind every once in a while, exercise every day, be mindful, eat well and sleep well. The metrics for healthy mind and body are limitless : numbers of hours of work-out, number of hours of sleep, portions of fruit and vegetables eaten per day, number of minutes spent meditating and many more.
Most of these ways of keeping wonder alive and kicking in my life are lessons learnt over time….valuable lessons and metrics that help me smile each day, be fulfilled and try my best in everything I do.