By the time I publish this post it would already be my 37th birthday, but the fact that I’ll be 40 in three years hasn’t quite sunk in yet.
Maybe because my life doesn’t feel like that of a 37-year-old, and I’m nowhere near where I thought I’d be by 37. (You know, the once-upon-a-time vision that included: a husband, children, my own house, maybe a dog, nest egg, yada-yada-yada.) Maybe because I’m pretty much starting all over again, having given my life a reboot a few years ago, and it’s only now when I’m starting to really figure things out and when things are just starting to fall into place.
But you know what? I’m not worried at all.
Because the fact that I don’t feel my age (and, thanks to my half-Asian genes, don’t really look it as well) also means that I can allow myself to look and feel younger for as long as I can.
But there are other “un-secrets” to that, too. (Stuff that we already know deep down, but we either forget or ignore because we’re supposed to be “grown-up.”)
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We touched upon that at church today, when our pastor, Bebo Bharwani, talked about awe and wonder, and asked if we still had space for “Wow” in our lives.
He talked about how adults can be pretty jaded creatures, and it usually happens that the older we get, the more transfixed we are upon the future and our many stressors and worries, that we forget to be present to the little joys and miracles that unfold every single day.
He also reminded us of this passage from Matthew 18: 2-6:
“[Jesus] called a little child to him, and placed the child among them. And he said: ‘Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me.’”
There is so much purity and innocence in the way a child looks at the world, and we lose a lot of that as we grow old, so much so that it also hardens us and sometimes renders us incapable of seeing the magic of everyday life.
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If you know me, I’m quite the opposite of your typical adult, and I often think of myself as Alice lost in her own Wonderland—although I’m pretty sure it doesn’t always seem that way. I like getting lost in strange places and letting my feet take me where they must go, because that is how I reconnect with Intuition and Serendipity, and how I allow the world to reveal herself to me. I have made quite a big deal about encouraging people to “dream, dare, and do”, because I believe that everything great in this world is first built upon a (grand and seemingly-impossible) dream. I have tremendous faith in people, and I naïvely trust others—even when I probably shouldn’t—because it takes a lot for me to think the worst in people.
I still shriek when I see constellations at night, and I try to remember what my grandfather had taught me about these magical balls of light that are actually from hundreds of light years away. I’m at my happiest when I’m sprawled on my yoga mat and drawing, when I’m playing with my markers and crayons and forgetting that there’s a laptop close by. I will chase rainbows if I could, and I still believe that these colorful arcs in the sky are God’s promise that things are going to be okay.
I believe fully—and quite foolishly—in love and magic and romance, and I’m probably one of those people who are not only “in love with love”; I just feel like I’m in a state of love pretty much all the time. (And it doesn’t take much to make me feel that way, to the chagrin of my girlfriends.) I’ve often wished that I could give the whole world a hug because I feel like the world really, really needs it; and I know that I have a lot of love to share, if only I could bottle it up and give it away for free. (Not much profit to be made there!) I see the world through rose-colored lenses that I refuse to take off, and I am proud to be a sappy optimist and a hopeless romantic.
I am never bored because my imagination and constant sense of wonder keep me company, but I am also quite restless and will never be able to sit still for very long. (If I’m sitting still for long, it’s because my mind is busy wandering off on a creative adventure.)
For better or for worse, I fiercely guard and protect the child within me, and I make sure that whatever “adulting” I eventually do doesn’t get in the way of letting the little girl inside come out and play.
(I suppose my name—Niña Rica, “little rich girl”—has become a self-fulfilling prophecy, and it’s perfectly fine with me. :))
And even when things don’t work out (as happens a lot in life), I always, always find something to be grateful for, no matter how small. I remind myself that I’ve been through worse, and that, to quote one of my poems, “my God is stronger than any f*cking storm.” There is no mountain that Faith can’t overcome, and there is no despair too deep that Hope can’t swim through. (That’s what I think, at least.)
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There was supposed to be so much more wit in this post, but in the end I just allowed my Inner Child to ramble and revel in the “awe and wonder” that she is feeling and experiencing all around her. Life hasn’t been easy, but I have so much to be grateful for as I turn another year older, and I just want to feel the magic of all that.
And if you’re reading this, it means that you’re somehow in my life and circle, and that YOU are one of the many reasons why I’m as grateful and as happy as I am now.
The Little Girl within is as rich and as free as she can be, because you cheered her on and supported her, because you let her be, because you accompanied her on this journey and shared a part of your self and your story, too. And I am grateful and inspired and in awe, and excited to begin another year bursting with all the sunshine I could muster.
So yeah, this is as sappy and as saccharine as it can get. But I believe that this is also the secret to staying young—no matter what the number on your birth certificate tells you. 😉
Awe and wonder, folks. Awe and wonder. 🙂
Come celebrate another year with me!