How old would you be if you didn’t know how old you are? – Satchel Paige
OH TO BE A KID AGAIN!
I’m not saying there aren’t a lot of perks to being an adult, there are, most notably all manner of ‘adult ’ privileges, like driving a car and being able to set your own bedtime!
But, somewhere along the way we adults get chipped away at, worn-down by complications, minutia, and emergencies.
One week recently I had to deal with:
- The smoke detector going off at 4:00AM on a Sunday morning (there I was in my nightie and fuzzy clown-shoe slippers perched atop a ten foot ladder fumbling with a 9 volt battery — so much for the joys of a high ceiling) seriously considering taking a hammer to the damn thing to stop that incessant chirping
- Legal matters on Monday
- Two crucial deadlines on Wednesday
- On Thursday, a hot water heater that went kaputsky at 3:30 AM (the wise-guy designer of the house having decided that the garage wasn’t good enough for the blasted thing, so he put it in its own closet so that it could flood my carpeted downstairs). Oh, and the shut-off for the water was frozen, so then I’m out in front of my darkened house, flashlight in hand, trying to figure out how to shut off the water to the house, fuming and wrestling with a concrete slab cover, weeds, dirt, and a stubborn lever. Then I find that the 24 hr. plumbing service can’t get out to the house until somewhere between 8:00 AM and 10:00 AM (great, no shower!). Let me tell you, sopping up that mess took tons of towels, which later produced many loads of laundry, and a weekend of running floor fans day and night so everything could dry out
So it’s easy to see why us adults are often operating on ‘diminished capacity’ when it comes to overcoming adversity, getting maximum enjoyment out of our lives, and staying motivated to do our best, both at work, and at home. We tell ourselves, “When things calm down and get on an even keel, then I’ll be able to come up for air, take a breath, and start getting it together. Then I can focus on successfully moving forward.”
Thus, without intending to, gun-shy from what life has tossed our way, we adults spend a great deal of our time either fretting about what curve-ball is coming next, or hoping the future will be less hectic, and brighter. The future becomes a thing to dread. We dream big, but stall in our tracks, procrastinating when it comes to accomplishing our goals. Even though we see the logic in what Tony Robbins says:
If you do what you’ve always done, you’ll get what you’ve always gotten.
Still, we feel stuck in a loop. So how do we break the cycle?
HOW OLD WOULD YOU BE?
I believe Satchel Paige’s question in the quote above holds a crucial key. If you suddenly didn’t know your age, and I asked you to say how old you are, what would be your response?
If you’d asked me that question six months ago, I’d probably have said, “100 years old.” That’s because I was stressed out, and overwhelmed with an unfulfilling professional situation and a personal life marred by a series of family tragedies.
Ask me the same question today, and I’ll tell you, “I’m probably somewhere around 7 years old.” What changed? Paige’s question got me to ask myself similar questions: How old would I like to feel? What would be so special about that particular age?
I answered, 7 years old, because at that age I had the ability to spring-back quickly from hurts and disappointments. I also had:
- A thirst for knowledge
- A willingness to try
And what these traits have in common is: they are rooted in NOW.
THIS IS THE SECRET THAT CHILDREN POSSESS!
With no conscious effort, children simplify their world by staying grounded in the present; they are natural Zen masters. In his book Lessons from the Sandbox: Using the 13 Gifts of Childhood to Rediscover The Keys To Business Success, Dr. Alan Gregerman points out, “When we were kids, we played and laughed a lot, brought great energy and enthusiasm to everything that interested us, concentrated when it suited us, had compelling urgency about the most important things, and took the lead in magical ways. Interestingly, the typical child laughs over one hundred times a day, while the average adult laughs only two or three times a day.”
Imitate children, because they are the most adept at commanding their present moment. Each present moment builds the future. Focus on, and commit to, your present moment, and you capture your best future. As Bill Keane puts it:
Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, today is a gift from God, which is why we call it the present
Please leave your own thoughts in the Comments section below.
In the meantime,
Bestest to all,
Photo: Cynthia Dalton