I was sitting at an airport yesterday coming home after a long but productive day, waiting for my gate to open, catching up on emails on my phone, with a million thoughts running through my mind.
Then I hear a laugh and I look up from my phone.
A small girl maybe 2 or 3, her hair in 2 pigtails, her little mini converse tapping on the floor, her parents tickling her when she came close. Just completely unabashed, running around, big goofy smiley joy. No embarrassment. Laughing, jumping, running up to people near to her and waving.
The grown ups of course, tippy tapping away at their laptops, scrolling through their phones, a bleak look on their face, an occasional sigh, removing their glasses and pinching the bridge of their nose. Irritated by her laughs and squeals, while gulping down their Starbucks.
She ran up near to me. We locked eyes, and she smiled at me, I couldn’t help but catch that infectious smile and return with one of my own. This pleases her extremely and she does a happy jump and runs back towards her parents.
It made me think. When did we turn from the small child with no inhibitions to the adults who are going through the motions, going from day to day, not taking in the joy in the day, and being the person who sighs when we hear laughter.
Life is hard, there’s no doubt about that, but we used revel in the smallest things when we were children. When we were young we could simply get excited by seeing a rainbow, or the glee of a party with your best friend, a cloud shaped like an animal, your favourite food. Now we focus on all our responsibilities, which of course is something that’s important when you’re older, I have a mortgage and I have a job, but when did I lose my joy? When did I stop taking time to actually breathe and appreciate the little things, even if it’s a chance to sit in the sunshine, or a good hair day, or just laughing without caring. Maybe I need to start again.
” We don’t stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing.” – George Bernard Shaw
So thank you random little girl for reminding me to find the joy.