By Linda Commito
Maybe we all need to explore and play more.
Don’t you love seeing babies of any species? They are so innocent, so inquisitive, so playful, so open to exploring, and totally excited at new discoveries. Why can’t we be more like that?
I once excitedly witnessed the birth of several chicks. Weeks later, I got to watch these ducklings waddling after their mom along a wall overlooking water. She decided to teach by example, and without warning, she jumped over the edge and started swimming, as her babies looked on in bewilderment. Then, one by one, they each got the courage to jump . . . all except one little guy (don’t ask how I knew it was a “guy”), who walked back and forth on the wall, looking down at his siblings swimming along with their mom. He must have been the philosopher of the group, and finally he decided that there was no other choice but to jump. And that he did. I applauded.
I bet you can’t walk through your local park without seeing a gazillion baby squirrels chasing each other around, it seems like EVERY tree. It makes me laugh and, if I were a little more agile, I might join them, but I never did get tree climbing perfected—at least not with that speed!
Puppies are the best—unless you’re a fan of cats—and I will, reluctantly, put them in the BEST category, too. Only kidding—of course they are! Who doesn’t love playing with these energetic balls of fur?
But humans take the cake—literally and figuratively! Who hasn’t laughed at baby pictures—even our own—demonstrating that the best way to eat cake is to go face first!
Last month, I got to enjoy my friends’ 3-and-4-year-old grandchildren, exploring Sarasota Jungle Gardens, in Sarasota, FL, running to exhibit after exhibit, unafraid of anything. Although they did go “OOOOOOH” when it came to the snakes. (Never mind what I said!). And for $10, each one got to hold a baby alligator—until the 4-year-old dropped it, and then held on tighter the next time. It was delightful.
So why is it that we love witnessing, but can be so far removed from participating, in new discoveries, new adventures and pure play? Given an opportunity, I love to play with young children who see things with such fresh eyes. There was a time in my 20s that I enjoyed them more than adults and would run around and play while their parents were busy talking. But over the years, I’ve been so good at managing and deciding things and being serious, which has served me well in the adult world, but I feel that I may be missing some of the best things about me. I need to explore and to play more!
One thing that I have always appreciated and admired about my Mom is her ability to remain young and how she has always loved kids. At 93, my mom is the youngest-spirited person at her independent living home. In fact, when a new person was touring, she said: “There are a lot of old people living here.” And the guide said, “That’s because you haven’t met Terry Commito!” I’m so lucky that I get to visit my mom, watching her play with her terrier and listen to them singing on cue together. It’s a joy. I’ve learned a lot from my mom, including how to keep a young spirit by being open, playful, and fun!
Here’s to recapturing the joys and freshness of new discoveries.
Linda Commito, author, speaker, entrepreneur, consultant and teacher, is passionate about her vision to leave this world a kinder, more loving, and interconnected place. Linda’s award-winning book of inspirational stories, Love Is the New Currency, demonstrates how we can each make an extraordinary difference in the lives of others through simple acts of love and kindness. Her latest project, the card game Just Ask 1 2 3, was inspired by a desire to connect people of all different ages, beliefs and lifestyles to share our individuality and find commonality. Linda also created “Kindness Starts with Me,” a program, book and website for children. For more information visit http://www.LoveistheNewCurrency.com or visit the Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/Justask123game.