^Praterstern, Vienna, May 2013
Those were a childhood staple for me. Looking back, I couldn’t imagine a day go by without me having to put one on my knee or elbow after roughing it out with my boy cousins. I’d spend most of my waking hours at the playground or on one of those steep downhill slopes, throwing caution to the wind. On more than one occasion, I put my girlishness to the test by taking on dares from my manly playmates. I discarded so much of what was expected among little girls back then. My life then, maybe yours too, was all about play, play and even more play.
Today, I am a helpless bundle of nerves, often worrying over petty things- from something as trivial as a strand of white hair on my head to is there enough money for my daughter’s next school trip abroad. I have grown older, but I am none the wiser. My underlying paranoia is causing me blank gazes, sleepless nights and unappealing cortisol-induced fat stored around my belly. :/
If you think about it, aging is all in the mind. Sure, lines will start to show on your face, but if you feel that you’re still a kid at heart, then you’ll never really grow old. All those happy hormones surging through your body will be a product of a cheery and childlike disposition.
Being childlike isn’t to be confused with childishness, though. There is a huge difference, of course, the former mostly a positive trait while the latter has negative connotations.. What we take with us as we grow old is the wonder and awe kids have over the simplest of things. We bring with us the raw feelings they have after seeing an airplane zoom past their house, or the unspeakable delight they feel as they run their fingers over their pet dog’s soft hair. When we become as young children, we portray what we were in those days: timid and trusting, teachable (with guidance), free of rivalry and malice; a kind of pure humility. Children, if we look closely also has a bigger capacity to forgive. Look at how two kids easily work it out after having a small argument about a toy…they play again after saying sorry.
Though it may differ depending on one’s childhood, what we carry along as we grow is a personal choice. What’s childishness? It’s too often crying over spilt milk or throwing tantrums when we miss the bus. It’s arguing who is better and not accepting fault. It’s having revenge over when things don’t go our way. Not cool at all.
Eventually, your emotional state will make itself manifest in the way you look. The equation is simple: if you feel young, you look young. And the best way to feel young is to think and feel like a child.
Today’s verse to ponder: “Truly I say to you, Unless you turn around and become as young children, you will by no means enter into the kingdom of the heavens.” – Matthew 18:3
Also, remember; “If you carry your childhood with you, you never become older.” – Tom Stoppard