The Enthusiastic Adult
I’m not going to down play my enthusiasm just because it isn’t ‘cool’.
It seems like I’ve been muting my excitement about things lately. Maybe growing up has made me deadened to sensitivity and emotional range. It might be the raised eyebrows that seem to crop up around me when I show true excitement about things. Perhaps over the years I’ve just come to accept that people don’t really want to hear it.
Really though, the blame isn’t on other people for putting a lid on my emotions, I am to blame when I ask myself these questions : ‘Is it appropriate to be happy right now?’, ‘What justification do I have for being excited?’ and ‘Will others really find this interesting / cool?’
The answer to all of these questions should be a resounding ‘Why do I care?’. Why should the expression of my happiness clinch on wether someone will like it or not. Even when I do decide to show my enthusiasm I am sometimes so nervous, that it might not be appropriate or cool or whatever, that I stutter or don’t say it in the way that I wanted to because I was so worried about it!
As a child no one ever thinks these things, we live in the moment, we cry when we are sad and laugh hysterically when we are happy. Even when it’s not totally ‘inappropriate’ to do so. For better or for worse we completely express the full range of our emotions at all time.
I can’t think of a single child under 6, who ever asked themselves ‘I wonder if this person doesn’t like dinosaurs?’ before expressing their love for them. They just proceed to tell you everything they know about them. What their favourite is, how many books they have on them, how many books their friends have on them, what type is most dangerous and an in depth description of every dinosaur toy they have ever seen in their lifetime. The excitement that they have is absolutely infectious. Before you know it you are either playing dinos on the carpet, in complete awe of their joy, or at least impressed by their stamina.
I’m starting to realize that questioning my motives for happiness might be one of the quickest ways to shorten my life span.
There two wonderful enthusiastic women who absolutely inspire me to be more genuinely joyful. Tina Roth Eisenberg (aka. Swiss Miss), she often mentions enthusiasm as her biggest asset, here she is in beautiful joyful red telling her story. And Paula Sher, her wonderful Ted talk titled: Great design is serious, not solemn has changed my life.
Just after writing this all down as a draft I got an email with a link to the HOW Design Conference. Looking through the list of amazing speakers I spied Tina Roth Eisenberg and Paula Sher! I asked my boss if I could go and he has said YES! You better believe I was jumping up and down yelling with joy. I think moments like these absolutely will contribute to a longer and happier life for me.