Growing Older, But Not Up

My New Year’s resolution is to act more like a 5-year-old.

I got the idea from my daughters. They laugh a lot. They sing often and loudly. They spontaneously break into dance. They cry and sob and throw occasional tantrums, and then a few minutes later they’re laughing again. They don’t hang onto yesterday or worry too much about next week.

I want a little more of all of that in my life. So, I’ve been watching and listening to my girls and learning from them. I realized that the key to success that we adults are endlessly searching for is really quite simple.

It’s joy. That is, to exist as joy-filled beings and seek out and extract joy from every situation life throws our way–to be more childlike (not childish) in everything we do.

I’m pretty sure all of us understood this when we were kids, but we’ve long forgotten what it’s like to live in the childlike present.

A couple of years ago in January my then 5-year-old daughter announced, “This is going to be a cool year!”

And do you know what? She ended up having a cool year. In fact, she had an awesome year. And do you know why?

She decided to have a cool year. She chose to make it an awesome year. And it really is that easy. Joy is a choice. It’s not simple, but easy.

Despite the loss of a job or a loved one…despite failing health or an expanding waistline or (in my case) thinning hair…despite our circumstances, we can still opt for joy. It’s always there for us to choose or not to choose. We know this is true because we’ve all seen it and heard it in stories of those who overcome tragedy and monumental setbacks. It takes strength of character and a full-throated child-like spirit.

So, this year, if you see me riding on the back of a cart in the grocery store parking lot, or singing out loud on the street, or dancing in a fountain, please join me.

Jim Cosgrove, aka Mr. Stinky Feet, and his wife make their home in Johnson County, Kansas, with their two beautiful daughters. For details about where your family can be entertained by Jim, visit JimCosgrove.com.