When you’re a kid, everything is an adventure. Every new object brings a sense of discovery. Even the not-so-new objects are approached in fresh and creative ways with each new encounter. My (almost) three year old daughter will find four hundred and fifty different ways to fall off of something. She always gets back up, throws her head back and just laughs. There are no inhibitions. No limitations.
My son likes to dig in the yard for treasure. This usually ends up with an interesting rock that he thinks is a very rare gem and I spend the rest of the afternoon filling in the holes. The other day he came running inside just absolutely beaming. His smile stretched from ear to ear. I thought he was going to burst. On this particular dig, he unearthed a pretty sizable piece of what I can only assume was some sort of horse riding trophy that the previous owners left outside in the yard.
Although it was pretty beaten up, it still had most of its metallic finish in tact. Aiden thought that he had found actual gold. He absolutely could not believe what he had discovered. As an adult now, I miss this sense of wonderment so much. When you grow up you figure out pretty quickly that there is nothing magical about a piece of plastic. You pick it up and walk it over to the garbage can and throw it in with the beer caps and banana peels. Plastic is trash.
This little golden nugget in my hand right now wasn’t, though. It was filthy and tarnished but it was someone’s childhood memory- buried deep into the ground. It was someone’s little piece of themselves and it was gone. That’s the thing about perception. It wasn’t actually gone at all. It was here the entire time but had somehow ended up getting buried deep down over the years. Somehow on that particular day, it found its way to the surface again. It wanted to be discovered. It was unexpected but almost poetic. I held it in my hand and half smiled. I wondered about the story behind it. I wondered how many times this shitty little piece of gleaming junk would make a child smile throughout its degenerative life. So far I was pretty sure that score was 2-0. My sense of adventure was reinvigorated.
I decided to recycle it.
I have started to step outside of the box again lately because becoming comfortable is equivalent to losing your sense of adventure. First steps are scary, awkward and uncomfortable. You fall down. You fall down four hundred and fifty different ways. You have to remember how to throw your head back and just laugh. The words that were jumping off of Aiden’s T-shirt weren’t even initially noticed. I had to go back in time and really look. I had to dig. What I found was gold. His shirt read “Every great adventure requires a first step”. <3