Sometimes being an adult overwhelms me. I have bills to pay and student debt, I have friendships that constantly need to be worked on, familial relationships to navigate through, work responsibilities, and the list goes on. Bombarded with so many responsibilities and decisions that have to be made, I often forget that life is actually very simple: have I not always been taken care of?
I realized this recently while spending time with my two-year old niece. Surprisingly, she inevitably teaches me just how simple and ordered life should be. While I may teach her how to spell my name or what sound a chicken makes, she teaches me that I am loved by her just because I am and life doesn’t have to be as fast paced and busy as I make it out to be.
Life is supposed to be peaceful, and it seems so when I am with her. Of course, there are daily tasks that must be accomplished like eating meals, taking naps, and bathing, but beyond those things, the day is to be received in wonder.
The older she gets, the more I see the beauty of a child’s total abandonment. As an infant, she was completely reliant on her parents for absolutely everything. But as she is getting older, although still physically dependent, she also looks to her parents and other family members for intellectual development. Everything she learns about the world comes from the nurturing of others. Her curiosity about plants, animals, growth, and development dare me to wonder about the world again too.
But most importantly, she has taught me about the importance of abandonment. Unable to do anything for themselves, they are forced to rely on others. As an adult, there are inevitably many decisions that I have to make for myself, but I don’t live this life alone or only for myself. I am blessed to have a family and friends who want to support me and love on me. It’s so easy for me to receive all of the burdens of daily life and fail to ask for help because I don’t want to burden others with my problems, but that’s my pride getting in the way. The reality is that I need others just as others need me. I may not have one particular person (a spouse) to confide in and make decisions with, but I do have family and friends who know me well and are my support system; Like my little niece, I have to trust in the love and support of others sometimes and be vulnerable by reaching out to them.
After visiting my niece the other day, I left feeling refreshed and at peace. This life is a good life and I don’t want to waste it being afraid of what tomorrow holds or the possibility of getting hurt. Every moment is a gift and I want the eyes to see those gifts. Children see life in such a beautiful light and they have much to teach us. Life isn’t as complicated as it is sometimes made. Perhaps I should make time to revel in a child’s simplicity. Because the truth is, I have no idea what tomorrow holds for me.