I’m sitting in my room ignoring a pile of homework, while contemplating an oversized dust bunny and wondering whether or not it needs any help hopping into the trashcan. Sadly enough, this is how I have to spend a lot of my nights (well, minus the company of the dust bunny). I’m taking 19 hours this semester, on top of balancing involvement on campus, social life and a relationship. There rarely seems to be any time for anything else.
I used to write a lot. I used to have an imagination. Under the excuse of not having time, both my hobby and my creativity have suffered. I’ve lost a sense of wonder that allows me to see the extraordinariness of the world, and the vibrancy that once colored the world has settled into an ordinary grey.
It seems like this is a part of the process of becoming an adult. As we grow older, we lose a sense of wonder that allows us to look, not just see.
When we’re children, everything is new, and so we look for the new and see it everywhere. We explore, we imagine, we dream. But as time passes, we stop searching. Life settles into a pattern, and we sleepwalk our way through life. It becomes a habit, not an adventure.
I like the way that Jostein Gaarder sums the difference between children and adults in his novel “Sophie’s World.” Sophie, contemplating the wonder of the world asks her mother:
“’Mom — don’t you think it’s astonishing to be alive?’
‘I suppose I do — sometimes,’ she said
‘Sometimes? Yes, but — don’t you think it’s astonishing that the world exists at all?’
‘Now look, Sophie. Stop talking like that.’
‘Why? Perhaps you think the world is quite normal?’
‘Well, isn’t it? More or less, anyway?’”
This is how a lot of us seem to view the world now. I am no exception. There have been times when I’m walking home from classes and I haven’t even noticed the walk at all. I’m too caught up in the homework that I need to do, the emails that I haven’t sent or the chores that I should have done.
Every now and then we experience a sense of wonder. Perhaps it’s during our first plane ride when we see the expanses between the sky, the clouds and the smudged earth. Or when we see a beautiful sunset with shades of orange, purple, pink and yellow blended together perfectly. It’s that moment when everything else falls away, and suddenly we feel that we have a reason for being.
Retaining that sense of wonder beyond those moments that we find exceptional is a difficult thing. It’s a matter of stepping out of the routine and making a concerted effort to see things with new and fresh eyes and to never lose that sense of amazement. It may take days or it may take years to regain and hold onto this diminished or lost feeling, but I think it’s one worth pursuing. It’s one that I’m going to try hard to recover. In the mean time, I’ve named the dust bunny Fred.