The world is one big playground for every child - so much to discover, so much to get excited about. We all long for that state of mind, for the eagerness awaiting the thrill of a new experience. It’s the one thing we remember as long as we live and these are the memories that stay crystal clear and are romanticized as time goes on.
But as we grow older, we also tend to accumulate habits, dogmas, assets and obligations that weigh us down and make us shy away from really playing the discovery game again. We start to place more and more value on retaining and protecting what we have accumulated and less value on discovering and growing. We start to fear the uncertainty associated with discovery because we (wrongly) believe we have so much to lose. We believe we have to spend more and more energy in protection and insurance because our happiness will be embodied by assets. The real loss is not seen: the wonder of a child, seeing and experiencing this rich world and its inhabitants as for the first time.
But we do feel the loss somehow. Some seek substitute experiences that will give us a thrill without the uncertainty. Rides, games, movies, substances, fan clubs, sports - all substitutes for the real thing. Others grow frustrated and experience what we call a mid-life crisis or follow a spiritual leader who promises nirvana in the next life if new dogma’s are adopted.
Old people are seen as old not because their biological bodies change, but because they have stopped growing. They seek no more discoveries, are afraid of any uncertainty, do not want to invest energy for dealing with uncertainty. They stop listening and complain about the world that keeps on going forward, wishing it would return to the state it was (or as they remember it being).
Embrace uncertainty and enjoy the thrill, the excitement of discovering the unknown. It’s what life is all about. Like a mental spring cleanup, look at your habits, dogmas, assets and obligations. Choose what you want to retain and start an expedition of discovery to replace the rest. You might find it addictive (I did). Have fun!