To me, being easily amused as an adult is the greatest. I’m not talking fart jokes and boogers…I’m talking about finding joy and excitement and interest in the little things around you. As a kid, you have this nailed down. Everything is new to you, so everything is the coolest thing you’ve ever seen. Right now, at 5 months, I have you laughing hysterically by hiding behind a blanket and shouting “Peek-a-boo” as I pull the blanket down with a flourish. We did that for, like, 15 minutes straight yesterday. And every “Peek-a-boo!” elicited the same belly laugh from you. I tell ya, kid, you are quite awesome.
But as you grow up, everyday things begin to lose their shine. When you’re caught in the daily grind that is “being a grown up” it often takes bigger and better things to get a smile out of you. Obviously, as you mature, things like a game of “Peek-a-boo” aren’t meant to be as amusing anymore. But when you’re no longer able to find joy in the little things, then – in my humble opinion – that’s when life starts to get dull.
I’ll give you an example. Shortly after I started my second job out of college, a colleague and I were sent to Atlanta for a proposal writing conference. I’d never been on a business trip before. I had a hotel room all to myself…and it had two rooms! A living room area and a whole separate bedroom! I didn’t know they even made hotel rooms like that. And it had a king-sized bed! And a jetted tub in the bathroom! If you can’t already tell by my use of exclamation points, my mind was officially blown. My colleague could not stop laughing at me. Our conversation on the way to dinner went something like this:
Me: Jessica! Do you have a living room too?!
Jessica: Yes, I do.
Me: Two rooms! With a door to the bedroom and everything!
Me: And did you SEE the jetted tub in the bathroom?!
Jessica: (more laughing) Yes, I saw it.
Me: And a king-sized bed! Did you SEE all those pillows?
Jessica: (even more laughing) I’ve never met someone so excited over a hotel room before.
To this day she still laughs about how jazzed I was over some simple hotel accommodations. And maybe I was a bit overzealous…I mean, we were at a DoubleTree in Atlanta, not the Ritz Carlton in Hawaii. But to me it was THE COOLEST THING EVER. There I was, at the ripe old age of 25, on a business trip! Staying in a hotel room, all by myself! With a corporate credit card! I mean, if that’s not grown up then I don’t know what is. And I took a moment to let myself be excited about it and to express that excitement. Even at the risk of having my new colleague think I was a bit “off.”
Some may call me naïve…or maybe I’m just not “worldly” enough. Frankly, I couldn’t care less what people think because I’m too busy being excited about the free margarita I just got checking in at the Hyatt in Scottsdale. Free booze! (#WINNING – but only when you’re 21)
And that’s what I want for you. Even after you’ve grown and finished school and moved out on your own. When you have deadlines and bills to pay and chores to get done. Try to hold onto a small piece of that excitement over “Peek-a-boo.” Reflect on how cool something is no matter how big or how small. Take note of when you are happy, even if it’s for a silly reason…but take note, and allow yourself to be excited.
I promise, kid, it will make life more interesting and a hell of a lot more fun.