During the course of the last year I lost both my aunt and grandfather to cancer.
Prepared or unprepared, losing a loved one is never easy. I sat at my grandfather’s life celebration this past Sunday listening to family members and close friends reminisce about decades-old anecdotes and fond memories.
While one speaker was addressing the audience from the podium, my little cousin, Aubrey, who is not quite 3, pranced around the aisle.
She was dancing and smiling, grabbing anything that was shiny she could get her hands on. She was completely oblivious to the gravity of the situation.
Some people grew tired of Aubrey’s antics as they tried to listen to all the different details of my grandfather’s life. I, on the other hand, could not do anything but smile.
Here was this small child, unable to comprehend the events that were taking place around her, completely happy. Not a care in the world.
I looked at Aubrey and realized just how much we could all learn from a young child.
Oftentimes we get caught up in the day-to-day stress in our lives and become frustrated about the smallest of issues. Instead of allowing ourselves to be happy, we continue to put pressure on ourselves.
Not to sound completely morbid, but everything in life is finite: our classes, our time at IU, our jobs, our lives. Everything is going to come to an end someday. When this thought initially crossed my mind, it made me slightly scared. Death is scary, after all.
Then I realized just how uplifting it can be. All of the bad times, all of the stress and worries will end. Spending our limited amount of time fretting about day-to-day problems is pretty nonsensical.
Aubrey helped me realize if everyone behaved a little more like their child inside, we would all be a little better off.
You see, children choose to do what makes them happy. If they like to color, they color. If they like to read, they read. If they like to sing and dance, they sing and dance.
Acting on every childish impulse you have on a day-to-day basis is obviously a little impractical. Otherwise, we would have grown adults running around playing freeze tag in the middle of intersections.
It is OK to indulge your inner child every now and then. Do what makes you happy, and everything else will fall into place. Live for happiness.
The best thing we can all do is simply smile. And maybe dance like a 2 year old from time to time.