I have been thinking a lot lately about childlike wonder. Not so much its occurrence in the young but more so its absence in the old…er.
To me, childlike wonder encompasses so many wonderful things. It is first and foremost an insatiable curiosity and interest. It is expressed in questions and found down rabbit-holes. It does not care for your preconceptions nor expectations. Childlike wonder quite often sets its own rules yet surprisingly, never blurs its boundaries into hurt or pain. For childlike wonder is born out of love and purity. It is honest and creative, allowing itself to be expressed in both rainbows and rainclouds. It does not pretend to be pretty yet it is not afraid to be pretty either.
My childhood wonder had unbelievable artistic merit. It scribbled and painted, and got messy often. It wore things in the wrong order in the wrong sizes in the wrong patterns; it was a trend forecaster. It asked a lot of questions, read a lot of books and at times; made lots of silly jokes. My childhood wonder was a performer but it did not always perform. It would sing and dance and pull faces. It would burp out loud and laugh hysterically for minutes after. My childhood wonder was hilarious. And confident. And stupidly happy.
So where the fuck did it go?
Did I lose it in the sleepy coma that was my middle teens? Did I lend it to a friend drunkenly at some party and forget to get it back? Did it slowly seep away from me over the course of 20 years when I stopped making time for it and acknowledging its presence? I mean, that’s where yours went right? It got left in our former chapters prior to corporate jobs and mortgages and parenthood planning?
The process has been so long and unconscious that mostly I think, we do not realise it. I mean, every three months we fill in half a page in a colouring in book – so we must still have it, right? Or last year, when we spent six months on that project at work coming up with the next “big thing” – I mean, that was pretty spontaneous? No matter that we were beaten to market twice, we were just unlucky. Or how about the other day when we spent a whole 20 minutes making things out of dough with the kids….a whole 20 minutes!!
We often try to reach into this mythical bag of ‘wonder’ as adults for more often than not, we find the bag is empty. Or it is hard to find in our busy schedule. Or perhaps we have just put it down for a while but we have every intention of picking it up tomorrow, or the next day, or just once this busy period at work is over.
But in doing so, in not finding or utilising our Wonder – we miss out.
We miss out on the messiness and the joy and the fulfillment that our Wonder brings us. We miss out of the effects of our Wonder’s flow, how it seems to make time stop altogether. Wonder is immersive and welcoming. Wonder doesn’t worry about deadlines or schedules. It doesn’t care if you’ve done your make up or had a shave that day. Wonder is accepting and all-consuming, and Wonder really hopes you wear your gumboots or neon tutu or whatever the heck else you want to wear that day. Because Wonder doesn’t care for material things. Wonder just wants you to be happy in whatever sparkly outfit allows you and your Wonder to function best in.
I haven’t made any hard or fast goals for 2017 (yet) but I have made a conscious commitment to bring more childlike wonder back into my life. I want to be more creative, more ‘artsy’, I want to write more, I want to get messy, pick up a paintbrush and maybe wear some sparkly bits on my face one day. I want to get lost in fun activities and I don’t want to feel guilty about spending time with my Wonder. I don’t want to be thinking about emails or deadlines or to do lists or chores or tomorrow. I want to get absorbed in the moments spent with my Wonder where time has no meaning and we ebb and flow through works that we love, or kinda love, or don’t love at all; a time where we don’t give up on each other.
Of course I am fearful. My material brain fears time spent on things that don’t make money. Not for indulgence but as a basic survival instinct. But I must train my brain to see the intangible value offered in watercolour, or the connection that 1000 words may bring, or the personal fulfilment and satisfaction found in a completed creative project. And who knows; maybe the two are not diametrically opposed. Maybe in fully giving in to my childlike wonder and creativity, something entrepreneurial may be born. Lord knows of the many that have gone before and the many that are still to join the industries of freedom and spirit and letting their Wonder’s loose.
I hope I have the courage to not second guess my Wonder. For whilst my Wonder is a brave soul, I am not so. Together, we will sail the high waters of expectation and judgement, and crash heavily through waves of instability and self doubt; finally surpassing the storms of social expectation and magnification. Together, we will transition into the calmer waters of childlike wonder – where we will charter all obstacles together; arm in spaghetti-bracelet arm. For we both know that when we arrive on the other side, there will be boundless amounts of purpose leaving us with nothing but feelings of overwhelming joy and fulfilment.
Love Ziggy + her Wonder x