Don’t grow up

Be childlike to have fun with those near and dear to you as much as possible, back to nature, walking barefooted on grass and getting dirty with dirt - JAGDESH SINGH



By Jagdesh Singh | OPINION

Like any other 6 year old girl in any of our families, my youngest has an infectious laugh, a smile that brightens all around her and a ferocious need to share her thoughts and views at any hour of the day. The happiness she exudes has the potent power to uplift any of my tired shoulders after a long day of work. This is also typical of any child of that age. The best stress relievers out there.

I’ve noticed my elder girls, tweens by age, have still maintained that power as well, albeit they use it sparingly. A hug and a smile can be quite expensive, depending on their moods as they have begun to assert their journey into young adults. But as potent as ever, nevertheless.

I believe there is a correlation between their prowess to make those around them happy and the childish innocence that they were gifted since the day they were born. The younger a child is, the more innocent. The more innocent, the happier their smile can affect you. No child is sad under any circumstances if well fed and well rested. There are tantrums, but those last shorter than the time it takes to change their diapers.

But as they grow older, they lose their innocence bit by bit, that we don’t notice it until one day you notice them as tall as you and are having the same cynicism as you. That’s when you know they’ve matured. Some mature faster. But sooner or later, they are us. Us, as in you and me, constantly fighting so many different emotions at every waking moment, with happiness only briefly making a cameo here and there. And the innocence from our childhood all but extinguished from our beings.

Have you ever noticed that you are truly and blissfully happy when you are experiencing a tiny sliver of what it felt to be a child? I’m not talking about that pay rise you got, that new car you bought or that acknowledgment you got from your work colleagues. That’s happiness but it has pride mixed into it, and it isn’t blissful. It’s just a good feeling.

Blissfully happy is when you hug your Mom, or when you are playing around with your siblings without any thought and worry. Or when you’re playing in the rain with your best friends like how you did when you were 12. Or when you’re in the pool monkeying around with your children like how you did when you were with your cousins when younger. Or when you taste Mom’s cooking and thinking you’ll sod that diet for the day. You’ll notice that nothing else matters at the moment when you’re experiencing this blissful happiness. I think that’s because that flame of innocence that you had when as a child gets lighted for a brief moment. You’re reminded of that innocence that goes hand in hand with the same unadulterated happiness you had. No care in the world. No fear of failure. No worries to burden.

As I slowly observe this, I’m making mental notes to make sure that I remind myself to not be such a grown up all the time. But, there’s always a but, being childlike shouldn’t include the tantrums and the ignorance to hurt others. That won’t lead to happiness but more turmoil. Be childlike to see only the good in others, to not know of fear that you’ll be disappointed by others, to just laugh at yourself. Be childlike to have fun with those near and dear to you as much as possible, back to nature, walking barefooted on grass and getting dirty with dirt.

There’s the timeless advice from the very old, of grandfathers and grandmothers, to never grow old at heart. The mind and body may wither, but the heart should always be young. I can now see the wisdom of this and I think we will only truly realize this when it may too late in our twilight years.

I’d like to be able to conjure up happiness after a long day like how my 6 year old gift does to me every day.

Jagdesh Singh, a Kuala Lumpur-based executive with a US multinational company, is a father of three girls who are as opinionated as their mother

* This is the opinion of the writer, organisation or publication and does not necessarily represent the views of Asia Samachar.



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