My daughter is the bravest person that I know.
She is still a baby to me, just 22 months old, but acts like she owns the playground. She runs right past the other kids slowly ascending the stairs. When she reaches the tallest slide, she barely allows herself enough time to get situated before she whizzes down, screaming "whee!" and laughing the whole way to the bottom. She then looks up at me with her sweet smile and asks "more?"
I took her to the beach. "Ocean?" she asks every morning since. She loved the sea and walked right in, not quite understanding why I held her back from the waves. She chased seagulls on the sand. "Peep peep!" she quietly said, reminding herself that they are birds. She seemed confused when she wasn't able to fly after them. We picked up beached jellyfish and threw them back into the ocean. She waved goodbye to each one. I could see it in her eyes: she believed that the beach was her domain.
I often wish I could bottle her bold spirit and her belief that she can do anything. To her, no obstacle is too big. If she wants to climb onto the sofa, she finds something to step on so she can reach it. She is friendly and engaging to strangers. She loves to explore new places and situations. I know that many toddlers outgrow this bravery as they become more aware of the world, but I hope that she takes this courage and confidence with her into womanhood.
Witnessing my daughter's boldness makes me wonder: how do we lose this fearlessness as we age? Perhaps it simply drifts away from us each year and suddenly it seems that we cannot chase our dreams anymore. Or maybe it happens when a person has suffered one rejection too many. I am not sure. I do know that humans are more powerful than we imagine. We all have an inner voice that tells us to go down the tallest slide, with no fear, but it is difficult to live boldly. I see so many people who are afraid to go after their dreams and unwilling to take chances. Fear can be a crippling obstacle when it comes to living the lives that we want.
How can we conquer these fears that hold us back? I don't believe that there is one right answer, as everyone is different, but I know that it is more fulfilling and freeing to live without being paralyzed by fear. One of my favorite quotes is "all glory comes from daring to begin," and I agree. Sometimes you just have to jump in headfirst to get what you want from your life. Unfortunately, there is no way to bottle my daughter's spirit, but she reminds me to block out that voice in my head that says "I can't." She inspired me to start a new career at thirty-five. She helps me to be less afraid. Witnessing how she embraces the world wide-eyed makes me want to do the same.
When I watch my daughter strut around the playground, I think: this is how I want to live: fully and boldly. She believes that everything is an adventure. And isn't it? Why should I view living in this beautiful world as anything other than an adventure? So, I find myself most afternoons whizzing down the tallest slide right behind her.
Follow Becky on Facebook.