Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Thoughts on the Joy of Discovery

"We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring 
Will be to arrive where we started 
And know the place for the first time."
- T.S. Eliot, in his poem Little Gidding

I love this quote because it's about seeing things from a different angle - a different perspective - and rediscovering it in a whole new light. The joy of discovery shouldn't cease with the onset of adulthood... but it often does, doesn't it? 

I wonder sometimes if we bought into a false idea that "growing up" and "maturity" don't allow for dreaming, imagining or creating, which all lead to discovery. Somehow the "What do you want to be when you grow up?" question stops getting asked around age 23. We replace the dreams and creativity with convention, the burden of expectations and pressure to conform to some sort of societal norm because to dream at this point would be considered foolish.  But why?

I am not suggesting that we shirk our responsibilities, but I am suggesting that maybe we got it all wrong. Maybe we should care less what other people think and listen more to the passion within that's begging to be let loose.  Maybe we should pursue the things we're actually good at and not the things that bring in better salaries.  Maybe we should listen to those childhood dreams and invite them in as old friends.

I'm 39 and I there are still things I want to be "when I grow up", and I hope I still feel that way at 89 because the truth is, I hope I never stop learning.


Elisabeth said...

YES!!!!! I love this. This is IT!! I refuse to stop saying I want to Neverland before I grow up. Or that when I grow up, I want to be Queen of Narnia. I may not think like that as much as I did when I was younger. But once a queen of narnia, always a queen. :)

wakeupcowboys said...

Grandma Glass and Grandma Williams are superb examples of learning.

Tammy and Joe said...

I always thought that I left home when I moved away to college, but now that I've started this international thing (in my 40s!), I am really soaking in the joy of discovery. China never gets old, and the wonders really help outweigh the discomforts and homesickness... most days. Can't wait to see what awaits us in Pretoria!