A few days ago, I saw two kids running down the sidewalk with their backpacks on. One boy was probably about 3 or 4 and he was accompanied by his older sister who only seemed to be about 6. The two of them were purposefully crunching the fallen leaves beneath their feet and squealing with joy.
The two of them got to a crosswalk, looked both ways, and then proceeded to cross the street. They did not cross the street how we, as adults, do. They hoped on each white line in the crosswalk like rabbits laughing and making funny noises.
As adults, we usually have our heads down at our phones- checking emails and texts while we are listening to podcasts or music. We want to get from point A to point B quickly and get things done along the way.
When I saw this I thought to myself, ‘I wish I was that happy to cross the street. How are they so excited?’ The kids I saw seemed so at ease and happy in that present moment- enjoying the fall weather in New England.
When I had this thought- it was easy to go to the idea that kids have it easy. They do not have the worry or burden that comes with being an adult. They do not have a calendar of work meetings or countless errands to run.
I quickly had to check myself. Kids do not have it easy. Kids have plenty of big feelings. When presented with a problem or a feeling- they may have never been in a situation similar to that before- making that situation feel even more intense. Along with this sense of newness, most kids do not have much autonomy or control over situations, which can make the world a scary place.
Instead of trying to figure out what made these kids feel so carefree- I have chosen instead to try to embrace that feeling and that sense of curiosity. Kids are mindful- living only in the present moment and taking in exactly what is around them. While they have their own feelings and experiences that can seem overwhelming, they are experts in taking time to just be.
There is a lot of information out there that shares the benefits of being mindful which talk about meditation apps and exercises that can help to strengthen this muscle. Personally, I find these really hard to actually practice and get in the habit of.
Instead of these more traditional ways to be mindful, I have been trying to enjoy things like a kid would- with focus and play in mind, taking time to let my mind wander and enjoy the little things.
Whether this is taking a walk without my phone in hand, eating icecream and sitting outside, or playing another round of Uno with my family- trying my hardest to be present at the moment and taking time to just do one thing at a time. I am attempting to move slowly and to have more fun. This is something that I all believe we can all use a little bit of right now.