This is my niece, Olivia, the coolest person I know. Sometimes I look at her in such awe, at how someone so small can have such a strong personality, such a clear sense of who they are. I love her. She has brought so much joy and lightness to our family, and she has taught me a lot. As we prepare to embark on our ‘Indefinite Travel Adventure’, one of my main concerns (aside from selling every possession I own, including our house) is that I won’t be around to spend time with her, and her brand new baby sister Sophie (who we haven’t really gotten to know yet because she is only ten days old).
So as I prepare to follow my dreams of travel and adventure, I am reflecting on everything she has taught me about life, in her short two years on the planet. Free from psychological or emotional baggage, Olivia truly embraces life as I believe it is meant to be, joyous, happy and fun! Instead of focussing on the fact that I will miss my nieces like crazy, I am choosing to focus on what they, and most children have to teach us about life, hopefully being able to take some of these lessons away with me, as I attempt to live a creative, fulfilled and authentic life.
1. Have FUN!
From the moment Olivia wakes up in the morning, the fun begins. She is one of the happiest people I know. Correction, she is
the happiest person I know. Her sole purpose in life is to have fun, whether she is making up games, or dancing to her favourite songs.
2. Laugh. A lot!
This Kid has an infectious laugh, and really enjoys a good chuckle. The other day, we were driving to the hospital to meet her new sister, and she was trying to get me to laugh, by laughing at the top of her lungs, which was just so funny to see a two-year old kid doing, that I just had to laugh, and soon we were both in fits of laughter, about what, I’m really not sure!
3. Every Day Is An Adventure
It’s like she wakes up in the morning, and says, “Hello world, what challenge do you have for me today?” She will tackle just about anything, from dressing herself (see photo), to learning a new word or making a new friend. She goes with the flow, whether her day involves going to ‘school’ (daycare), swimming with Dad or hanging out with her Nana, she just accepts every experience as it comes her way.
4. Live In The Moment
Now I think all children can teach us worry warts a thing or two about Zen Buddhism! Well maybe not the meditating part, but
Olivia lives so much in the moment, she forgets if something upset her 10 seconds ago! And she definitely doesn’t hold grudges. When she was a baby, she was feeding me (yes, I know!) some apple and I accidentally bit her little finger. Quite hard. It was awful, especially for her, and she cried a lot. But very soon, she had forgiven me (though I didn’t forgive myself, ensuring I did the feeding from then on!).
So thank you Olivia, my gorgeous niece, you have already taught me so much, and I’m sure you will continue to! I hope we can all
keep learning and growing and having adventures!