Living Like A Child
Written by: Veronica Ballestrini
When I was little I would cry if I thought the boogieman was under my bed… I would cry if I didn’t have my favorite blankie at bedtime. I would cry before going on a scary amusement park ride. As we grow up, we learn what we learn and we stay in that comfort zone. We become so numb to our emotions, and we tell ourselves that crying is a sign of weakness. We grow up and train ourselves not to cry and we stop trying new things… Do you remember being a little kid and everything was SO amazing to you? Everything. The drive to your grandmother’s house, the walk down to your local fair, the first time riding a bike with no training wheels, you were scared, but you still did it… And everything seemed to have so much magic. Where did the magic go? It left us when we stopped seeing life like that. We got so used to the “norm”. How we thought we should act and be… How we thought we should go through life… We lost all the magic in our hearts… We stopped trying new things. We stopped pushing ourselves. We stopped exploring. We stopped thinking we could do anything we wanted to in this world. We stopped seeing life through the eyes of a child. Well, I think children have the right idea… They don’t get bogged down with negative thinking and cynicism, they live in the moment, and find so much happiness in the smallest of things.
So, this one day in particular in August, was a one of a kind, kind of day. It opened my eyes and helped me to see so much about life. It’s been a while since I’ve nearly cried two times in one day due to being scared of something. I might have cried a little that day… Ok I did. So the day started with us journeying out for a hike, which then turned into cliff climbing… We start climbing up this big, steep incline. I got halfway up it and I turned and looked down… Then I started to slip a little. It crossed my mind that I might fall down the cliff and die. I was shaking with fear, and I may have cried a little. We finally made it to the top of the mountain. I looked down at my shirt and my hands and legs, all covered in mud and dirt, and it was the most incredible feeling I’ve felt in so long. A feeling I totally forgot about… It brought back so many memories.
This day kept getting weirder… Later that night we went into an abandoned, haunted, mental institution. Let me just tell you, this place is SCARY. All the windows are boarded up, and there was only one way in and out. We brought candles and tried communicating with ghosts… Yup, that happened. We went all out. Things got a little out of hand… We ended up getting lost inside the building, and we couldn’t find the way we got inside… This is when I started freaking out. Every horror movie I’ve ever seen was flying through my head. My heart was racing, my mind was pacing… And I may have cried a little again. It turns out we didn’t end up getting eaten by any ghosts or axe murderers, and we finally found the way out… We laid on the beach after, looking up at the stars, and we were amazed with how many shooting stars were flying across the sky. We found out after, there was meteor shower that night. Totally epic ending to an epic day. As I laid there staring up, I realized in my 22 years in life, I’ve never laid on a beach and looked at the stars at 1:30 in the morning. This was when I realized, THIS is what it feels like to live. In those moments, when one second I was trembling with fear, and the next second, laughing at the outcome, I felt the most alive. More alive than I have felt in so long… I’m not saying we all need to become emotional bat-cases and cry all the time, or go out and risk our lives…. I’m just saying, slow down. Stop moving so fast. Stop thinking you’re too old to try new things or push yourself. Stop getting so caught up in the world and the every day shenanigans.
Live on the edge a little. The edge is risky but it’s worth it. Never ever ever lose that childhood sense of wonder… Some people call us crazy… But maybe they’re the crazy ones after all.
And he said: “I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” -Matthew 18:3
This is what the abandoned mental institution looks like during the day… Now, we were in there in the pitch dark…