Have you ever noticed when you walk past a school on your way to work or an appointment that the world shifts from calm and quiet to hearing a tidal wave of pure energy, noise and excitement flooding your ears when children are out in the playground on their break time?
If the teacher on duty asks them what they are doing they will give a reply with such energy (and also slight contempt) I mean, ‘isn’t it obvious we are hopping on stones to avoid hot lava from an erupted volcano Miss?!’
Yet it’s their excitement for what they are doing that’s completely infectious! They’re preparing a play with their teddy bears to perform to the Queen! They have made friends with dinosaurs and are exploring the caves! They are pirates on a ship at sea! (Although there’s always that one kid who has to take a time out of from a big important battle across the seven seas to pick their nose and eat it).
As adults you realise not only do we really lack imagination we once had as children, but also all of that pure excitement and unbound energy has also gone too. We can get so caught up in the day to day monotony and telling ourselves ‘well it’s just life, and we have to get on with it’ that we can easily go about our days and weeks without much feeling of being elated or really excited by something, someone or your surroundings.
This constant flair of energy that children have was further highlighted to me last week when I was on the train coming back to London after visiting my parents for Christmas. It was full of families all making the most of their holidays and time off and heading into the capital for a day out. A boy of about five years old who was sat on the adjacent side of the carriage, wearing a big reindeer hat and bright red and blue superman socks caught my attention because he just wouldn’t sit still for more than one second!
He was kneeling on his chair to see what was going on behind him, two seconds later sitting back down again, then turning pressing his face up against the window and loudly asking his mum a question about cows and then switching the topic instantaneously to the croissant he was eating. He then he shuffled into the aisle and knelt on the floor and a split second later did a funny jog up and down the carriage, afterwards coming back to where his seat where he then did a couple of spins on the spot and then sat on the floor, and resumed in quizzing his mum, although he had now moved on to the more pressing topic of what was for lunch, and it was only 9:30am.
It was fascinating to watch and hear him and his complete lack of inhibitions and awareness of everyone else sat on the packed train. He’s not yet at an age where he’s affected by others opinions and was doing what he wanted in every moment of every second because that was what he was thinking and it was what his body felt like doing.
He had an urge to spin on the spot like Michael Jackson three times and then fall on the floor, so he did it!
He wanted to do a funny waddle up the train, so he did it!
Watching this little boy just be completely free made me feel slightly jealous of this unapologetic inner and outer freedom he possessed without being aware of it at all.
Children we are still allowed to embrace this sense of pure freedom, and then as we grow up we are conditioned to shrink ourselves and our personalities to fit into what society expects us to become in order to be seen as ‘acceptable’ adults in society. A byproduct of this is that other peoples words and opinions can heavily affect our day to day actions, and on some occasions can stop us stepping out and doing what we really want in moments when we feel the urge to do so and be carefree.
As the train then starts to pull into north London we pass the Emirates football stadium on the left, which the railway line runs right alongside.
’Look! Do you see the stadium??’ says his mum with such enthusiasm that it caught the little boys attention, ‘That’s where Arsenal play their games!!’
The boy stopped completely in his tracks as he was mid-MJ-esque spin and froze as he looked out the window.
His eyes widened, his whole face completely lit up and his mouth dropped open.
In those ten seconds he was in complete and utter awe. This stadium was clearly the best thing he has seen in his life! His excitement was oozing out of him, as if his little body couldn’t contain all of the amazing wonderment that he was seeing, and his energy was spilling over out into the space around him and onto anybody who was sat nearby.
For myself, although I have been past that stadium multiple times on the train and hardly paid it any attention, I found I was feeling pure excitement about seeing this building through watching him. For those few seconds I felt his excitement by seeing the experience through his eyes, and that energy rubbed off on everyone around!
It’s funny though that when its a child we indulge their feelings of freedom and excitement, but when we meet these elements and traits in an adult we aren’t quite sure how to place or handle that person.
For example, when you come across someone dancing in the middle of the street to a busker or someone listening to a great track on their headphones and they are busting out some serious moves and energy on the bus or train.
I find watching the crowds reaction to this really interesting as that person is always looked at by the masses as if he/she has lost it. They are seen as ‘an odd ball’ or ‘a maverick’ and they are made fun of because they have stepped too far outside of ‘the norm’ that we simply don’t know how to react other than to laugh or mock them, and they often end up going viral over social media.
But in hindsight I’m pretty confident that it is the person dancing who is the one laughing inside at those who are stood around watching, as that individual knows that most of the crowd would love to be able to embrace that sense of freedom that he/she possesses for themselves, to be able to care less about what others think, to shed the restrictions of self-imposed inhibitions we have all placed on ourselves, and also seeming to have a great time while doing it!
Why Am I Telling You This?
Simply to encourage a bit of reflection as you go about your days;
Are there times when you have wanted to really embrace a moment or a feeling, but then you stopped and refrained. Ask yourself:
- Why was that?
- What has made you hold back?
- Is there something you are afraid of?
- What words were running through your mind at the time?
- How can you talk to yourself differently in the future to change this mindset?
We all have that inner child of freedom and excitement in us, although sometimes it might feel like it has been buried amongst the depths of schedules, responsibilities, deadlines and boring suits.
So find and take the time to dig her or him out and see what shedding of some of those inhibitions brings your adult self, especially when you put your Wonderwoman/Superman underwear on!
Although I would suggest perhaps refraining from wearing the entire costume to work…
Thanks for reading,