There’s a great line in the country song “I Hope You Dance” by Lee Ann Womack: “I hope you never lose your sense of wonder.” It’s a powerful lyric because our wonder is so powerful. It’s what drives us. It’s what helps us to be grateful for the things in our lives. Because it lets us see things. Really see them. We don’t just see a tree. We see a living, breathing symbol of beauty. We don’t just see our bodies. We see an exquisite orchestra of organs that work in concert to help us do what we need and dream of doing.
We don’t just see a fridge. We see an amazing apparatus that helps to keep our foods fresh, which helps to nourish ourselves and our families. We don’t just listen to music. We listen to melodies and stories that have been passionately and painstakingly imagined or experienced and made tangible. Which inspire and maybe even heal us.
That sense of curiosity for our surroundings, for how things work, energizes us. It helps us to stay focused and interested and eager and excited. It helps us to keep that playful perspective we so often lose as adults (which is incredibly important). It keeps us creative. It keeps us young at heart.
Right now I’m reading the book Twenty Over Eighty, which features interviews with 20 designers who are over 80 years old. They share everything from what they’re currently working on and obsessed with to how they get their unique ideas. I can easily get lost in this book. For hours. What I love is how curious and passionate these designers have remained about their work. For instance, Milton Glaser, the graphic designer and illustrator best known for the “I ❤ NY” logo, said this about his current interests and sources of inspiration:
“There’s nothing that I don’t find inspirational. Vision and life and everything else are so remarkable. The way that light is reflecting off of those ice cubes [refers to glass of ice water on the table] is absolutely breathtaking. It’s true that when I went up to see the Pieros at the Met, I was once again astonished by whatever Piero della Francesca had that nobody else had. But that is no more astonishing than that radiator [points to radiator in room] in some ways….”
You might not feel very passionate about your profession. Which is totally OK. Each of us has different reasons why we work where we work. Our jobs may or may not be our “calling.”
But maybe you can be passionate about a specific hobby. What activities energize you? What activities capture your entire focus, your entire being? What activities put you in a state of awe or excited to learn, to grow, to discover, to produce? Maybe it’s writing, drawing, painting, sculpting, reading, running, making music. Add these activities to your days.
Or maybe you’re passionate about life in general. Maybe you bring your passion to any activity that you’re doing, whether it’s cooking dinner, decorating or organizing your home, being with your loved ones, playing with your kids, writing thank-you notes or simply going about your day. My grandma Lilya brought her enthusiasm and vibrant spirt to everything she did. Even when she was receiving chemo for her returning cancer, she still found so much beauty in this world. And she savored it. Slowly and mindfully.
Author Shauna Niequist recently posted this image of a sunset on her Instagram. Her caption was: “Last night. One of my favorite things about lake life: we watch the sunset like we’re watching a Broadway show.”
May you never lose your sense of wonder. After all, wonder sustains us. It helps us to see, hear, feel, taste and breathe better. Fuller. Deeper.