My niece Ariane, who I see almost every weekend at her dad’s place (one of my best friends), isn’t my biological niece, but she is in every other way. She’s even taken to calling me “uncle Cri-Cri.” On the weekend, I get a smile thinking about seeing her with my group of friends. Every time, Ariane makes me realize that the world is funnier and more interesting than I tend to believe, and especially more complicated.
Being around her, I’ve learned 5 big, essential lessons:
1- Take the time to play
Dancing, jumping, swimming, skiing, imitating, cooking: all these activities are worth prioritizing over messing around on a tablet or sitting in front of the TV.
And playing also means observing, learning, communicating, and starting over – super useful concepts.
2- Laugh out loud
Laughing is so powerful. When Ariane starts laughing, she shares her euphoria with everyone around her. What’s more fun: a smiling person or a serious person? This question answers itself.
3- Live in the now
She doesn’t waste time worrying about the future, or dwelling on the past: she makes the most of the present moment in a completely detached way. Wow!
4- Be a superhero (or in her case, a princess)
Who hasn’t dreamt of superpowers and the possibility of saving the world? Using a costume, pretending to have magic powers, developing a secret identity and a well-defined mission? Hmmm… I think my character’s name will be O’Malley. To be continued…
5- Allow yourself to be vulnerable
Dare to show yourself as you are, without embellishment or defenses, with the unabashed and touching spontaneity of a child. Without fail, this approach melts away any aggressiveness or distrust, simply because the other person feels safe.
Ariane inspires me with her laughter, impulses, and quest for discovery, and she has mastered the art of having fun on a daily basis.
I think it’s never too late to change your associations with the present. If people say that everything comes back to us in our lives, isn’t it time to bring back… the present moment?
I aspire to a concept that I call the buddh-attitude, because life isn’t perfect, but it’s up to us to experience happiness every day by staying positive and focusing on what is most important.