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Be More Childlike: Life Can Be Beautiful If You Let It

Smiling Kids

“Children see magic because they look for it.” ~Christopher Moore

Take a moment to close your eyes and imagine a beautiful, warm, sunny Sunday afternoon. Where could you possibly be—at home, on a beach, or waiting at a bus stop?

Which of these three scenarios is the most appealing? Most of us would probably choose the beach. However, true enlightenment can be found in all three.

Recently I was waiting for a bus. It was a beautiful, warm, sunny Sunday afternoon. At the bus stop were three ladies. One was and elderly lady in her twilight years, the other was in midlife, and the final one was just a young child.

The lady in her twilight years was laughing with the child and having fun, in between complaining to the child’s mother about having to wait over thirty minutes for a bus.

When talking to the child, the mother in midlife was stressed and impatient. She too was complaining to the lady in her twilight years about the delayed bus.

The child was enjoying being outside, chatting, laughing, and having fun with the elderly lady. She had no concept of time or impatience. She displayed no distress in reaching her destination.

Observing this interaction, I asked the elderly lady if she needed to be somewhere. She said, “No, I’m going home but I actually have nothing to go home for.”

Checking my transit Smartphone app, I attempted to reassure everyone the bus was due in five minutes.

The child’s mother hurriedly said, “No, no. It’s not coming! I’ve been here over thirty minutes and I also have checked the internet.”

How did she know the bus wasn’t coming? Well, her experience told her it wasn’t. She was focusing on the past, and more specifically, a past experience. An experience she’d chosen to make significant, real, and relevant to the present.

I understood how she felt. I’d spent many years thinking that nobody loved me or wanted me after several of my relationships had failed. It was very much like waiting for the next bus, without much hope of it coming.

The older lady said, “This city is going to the dogs!” She’d made a judgment. One that condemned a whole city to doom based on the delay of one single bus.

The older lady was focusing on the future. A future she was predicting based on a single thought she’d had; a future for a whole city. Words we use are significant for they communicate our thoughts, feelings and beliefs.

The young child was in the present. Living in the moment and enjoying her interaction with other human beings, a balloon in her hand, free of judgment and thought.

She seemed happy with the warmth of the sun and a Sunday afternoon at a bus stop.

Then the bus came. The driver opened the door and apologized for the delay, explaining that construction had held him up.

At every stop we encountered, people boarded and complained about the delay to their destination. Throughout this time, the child was oblivious to this, still in the present.

When I got off the bus several stops later, two more were right behind. Two more buses carrying people from A to B.

Buses sometimes come in threes because our journey in life isn’t always the same; it isn’t always predictable. Three buses at once is a blessing, three vehicles for you to choose from, three choices instead of one.

You see, the journey did have beauty. It had a child finding magic in an interaction with another human being, in the warmth of the sun, in the opportunity to stop and play. Unfortunately, some of us sometimes get caught up in getting from A to B.

We sometimes don’t appreciate what’s right in front of our eyes. Sadly, on this day, the mother missed a few precious moments of her daughter growing up.

It made me think of my parents and how I missed them. They are in their eighties and live 6000 miles away. Each day I miss them growing older. 

I feel like they are slipping away, and there is sadness in me not being there to hug them and hear their stories each day.

I made a resolution to call them more often, to visit them more often, despite the distance and cost (mere details in the grand scheme of things).

The older lady worried about getting home when she was in no hurry and had expressed nothing to get home for. Sometimes that’s the problem; we don’t have something to travel to.

Like a meteor hitting the Earth, it reminded me of a painful time in my life, when I had nothing to go home for. It was after a particularly bad break-up that scarred me for a number of years.

At that time in my life I was running from hurt, but had nowhere to go. I really understood what the elderly lady was feeling. I could wear her pain. I wanted to simply hold her, tell her she would find a new path. Perhaps I should have been brave and told her that?

As we grow from child to adult, at some point we stop imagining. We stop dreaming. We focus on the details of everyday life that are inconsequential.

A bus is a vehicle. It simply gets us from A to B. We can choose if we want to appreciate the journey.

Appreciate your travels today. There is beauty in every one of them.

Whenever you find yourself getting annoyed, impatient, or frustrated with your journey, ask yourself these questions:

What’s the hurry? What can I appreciate right now? What opportunity has this delay given me? What am I really being impatient with? What am I missing by being this way? 

What would a child do right now? What’s truly important to me and what action should I take that I haven’t been?

Powerful questions ground us. They make us reflect, think, and discover. They get us to challenge our assumptions and confront our thoughts.

Do something childlike on every journey you take. Skip to the supermarket. Sing in the elevator. Stop and look all around you. Just see, hear, and appreciate. Life can be beautiful if you let it.

Photo by profahrrad

About Matt Turner

Matt Turner is a Relationship Coach based in Vancouver, BC. He is also Co-Director of Vida Relationships, a dedicated team of Relationship Therapists and Marriage Counsellors working with individuals, couples and families. Contact Matt today thorough the Vida website for in-person, telephone and email counselling. Also visit the Vida Twitter and Facebook page for up-to-date relationship education.

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  • Liz at Human Nature

    What an absolutely beautiful post. Thank you Matt. 🙂 Really spoke to me.

  • Scudsterr

    Really well done. I have thought of this often when I ride home with my dad from work in traffic. He stresses about getting home, I try to think and say, “We’ll get there when we get there, relax.”

  • Debbie Bills

    Matt is great and we should always take this advise to heart. Seeing the world like a child bring out the sunshine in every day. There is always something new ot learn or experience if we just take the time to see it or feel it.
    Thank you for the smile.
    Debbie

  • Hello Liz. Thank you so much for your comments, I appreciate them. I’m also glad it resonated with you :-). Have a childlike, fun day! Warmly, Matt.

  • Thank you so much for your kind comments, Debbie. What you posted is important and insightful. I’m glad you smiled :-). Keep being childlike. Much love, Matt.

  • Thank you, Scudsterr. It’s true, the journey is what’s important. There is never really a destination. Be well. Matt.

  • Shirley

    Thanks for your advice Matt. On my (previously) irritating 45-minute drives home, I’m going to think twice and remember that there is no hurry.

  • Anne-Marie

    Beautifully written, Matt. My grandchildren make sure I keep the child in me, I’m so grateful for that. And thank you for reminding each of us not to forget to be in the present.

  • David Frank Gomes

    This is simple profound wisdom. Thank You Matt for writing this. This one idea could take someone all the way to bliss if they followed it everyday.

  • Thank you, Anne-Marie. I’m sure you teach your grandchildren to never stop dreaming and always keep imagining. It’s lovely to hear they have such a positive impact on you. Warmly, Matt.

  • Thank you, Shirley. Next time you make that drive home, look out of the window for something beautiful. It’s amazing what you’ll see! Hey, why not tell us about it!? I’d love to hear what you find. Warmly, Matt.

  • Thank you so much, David. I agree. It’s a domino effect that begins here.

  • growthguided

    Thank you for the great post

    It is all about the lens we chose to hold in front of our eyes. How we can utilize each moment as an advantage rather than a challenge to our day!

    It is just as easy to see the beauty around when you are looking for it!

  • Brilliant article. Great advice, we should all try to hold onto our inner child. That sense of wonder and awe which can always be found in even the simplest of things.

  • Thank you, Amy. I’m so pleased so many people have taken joy from it. I’m inspired as much now as I was when writing it! I appreciate your comment. It means a lot.

  • Thank you so much! I appreciate your insightful comments. That lens we all have is important. We should pay attention to it. Much warmth, Matt.

  • Map

    Thank you for the great post. This one idea could take someone all the way to bliss if they followed it everyday. Much love.

  • Thank you so much, Map. You are so right and very kind. Let’s make it happen eh! Warmly, Matt

  • Mahesh

    Very simple and beutiful article. It also emphasizes the statement ” the biggest hurdle in learning is your education”. so try to be child like, lost in present and spent some quality time with child. This will make our life more peaceful and enjoyable.

  • Thank you for your comment, Mahesh. Beautifully put and much appreciated. Warmly, Matt.

  • Allison

    Matt, you are an excellent writer. You know a writer is good when their words stop you in your tracks. I write often and review other writers and your talent for writing is obvious. Your blog was accurate, poignant, and inspiring. Thank you.

  • Wow! Thank you, Allison. Your comments have made my day. It’s delightful to receive feedback like that and realise the effect something you’ve created has had on somebody else.

  • Be More ChildLike with Matt Turner.

    I’ll be on the radio this coming Monday, 16th September @ 6pm PST talking about my recent publication on Tiny Buddha and the philosophy behind it.

    Listen in here: http://www.blogtalkradio.com/lifecoachradionetwork/2013/09/17/frank-talk

  • Hello everyone. I have a new article published on Tiny Buddha today. Here it is:

    http://tinybuddha.com/blog/how-to-stop-feeling-like-youre-not-good-enough/

    I hope you find some resonance with it.

    Peace and love,

    Matt.