I have always believed that there is some unseen magic in the world. When I was a kid, I was convinced that adults had the secret key to uncovering it. As a grown woman, I am now convinced that kids are the ones in possession of this key. After all, they spend their days in play and amazement, while the rest of us worry about our bills and the general state of our affairs.
Through the years I’ve gotten small yet powerful surges of magic during specific experiences, and because of that, I came to think that magic lives in moments. Time with loved ones, traveling, eating delicious food, hearing unforgettable music. It’s found inside the people, places and experiences that tug at our hearts and make us wish we could freeze time. Kids have a fantastic ability to live in the now, filled with joy, their eyes full of wonder. They’re constantly living with magic–moment to moment.
The past few weeks have been so surreal, ‘now’ is the last place any of us want to be. My present involved a lot of social media browsing, reading some new horrifying statistic, taking big breaths before anxiety kicked in. It’s been too cold to go for runs and too windy to go for walks. Life has lost its luster. I mean, how could it not.
Not according to my eight year old neighbor. I asked her how she’s been doing, when she was playing on her front porch the other day, and in response she twirled, so I could get a good look at her dress. She pointed to the rainbow she colored for her front door, talked about her mom’s cool new home office and eventually zoomed off on her pink scooter. I saw her admire a twig halfway down the block. It reminded me of a time when nothing and no one would stand in my way of being happy. My childhood had some pretty dark moments, but once I reacted to them, I spent very little time thinking about them onward. I got distracted, self entertained and kept my mind perfectly occupied with things I enjoyed. I read books, played with my toys, colored, went so deep into imaginary places, sometimes I couldn’t tell the difference between imagination and reality. Kids don’t dwell on anything that doesn’t serve them or makes them unhappy–it’s not in their nature. They don’t sit around obsessing over things they can not control. Their attention span isn’t build that way. No, they turn their attention to whatever is fun and they use it up until the next thing.
It occurred to me that NOW is the ultimate time to embrace the child within. There are plenty of things I can not control today and when I dwell on them, they leave me nothing short of terrified. But what if instead, I channel eight-year-old me. The me who found ants fascinating, got lost in her books, smiled herself to sleep wrapped in a blanket of stories. The me who was fearless, who never ran out of joy.
Why the hell do we let the world make us forget?
So I thought about things that bring me joy and since time is the only thing I have a luxury of at the moment, I did them:
- movies, a lot of movies
- virtually recorded a birthday song for my dad with my sisters
- reconnected with a bunch of friends
- started a snail mail exchange with an old coworker who lives a few blocks away
- duolingo and french lessons
- video games
- working out, possibly more than I did before the lockdown
- drink and admire my boyfriend’s butt while he cooks
I wake up every day making it a point to enjoy it. I pack my days with things that make me happy and I do them wholeheartedly because that’s what eight-year-old Marianna would do. I focus on my loved ones. I focus on myself. I seek out joy.
So maybe that’s the secret adults have uncovered that holds the key to finding magic.
Be like the kid you once were and magic will find you.