Every time the year ends and a new year begins, I always find myself doing a mental review of several areas of my life…work, personal, goals crushed, future ideas and of course, the tangents go on and on. I’m blessed to be surrounded by a group of incredible people who lift me up when I need it, are happy for me when things happen for me and likewise- I’m there for them just as much if not more. But, when I thought about a few areas where that was just out of balance this year, I thought about how very basic so many lessons really are and how much I wish everyone just adhered to them. Some have taken me years to return to and master, but in the end, behaving like a 5 year old is actually OK. In fact, I recommend it and here are 5 reasons why.
1. WHEN YOU APOLOGIZE, SHOW DON’T TELL- Not just a line from one of my favorite songs, but really. When you say you are sorry, mean it and back it up with an action. Or, don’t even say it, just make something happen that shows the other person it’s real. Let me tell you what is NOT an apology- the old “I’m sorry if you took it that way”. That doesn’t count and neither do words when there are no actions to back them up. What does a 5 year old do? They say sorry and you can see it in their eyes that they REALLY mean it. You get that hug, that plea of “I’ll never do it again” which at that time you can see they truly mean from their heart, and they do things like trying to glue a plate back together which makes more of a mess than you can handle but that’s ok. It’s the gesture and action that goes along with it that counts, not the words.
2. BE NICE- Why is this just not a totally universally adopted thing? Smile at people, don’t avert your eyes. Say hello. Put people first. Share your toys. Sit down next to someone who looks like they’re alone and talk to them- 5 year olds do it all the time. Remember that first day of school when you didn’t know anyone, and didn’t understand what “everyone’s in the same boat” meant yet? You probably sat down next to a stranger and became their friend. You probably opened yourself up and asked someone to play with you, or someone asked that of you. Just be nice- don’t hurt people, think about your words before you say them because you can’t take them back.
3. DON’T HOLD GRUDGES- What does a 5 year old do when they’re mad? They get SERIOUSLY pissed about something they think is the end of the world and then by the next day (or even like by the next hour) they’ve forgotten all about it and have moved on. They don’t remember that they couldn’t get that toy in the store, they don’t remember that so-and-so accidentally bumped into them or misplaced the eraser they loaned them (both of which are easily the end of the world at the moment). It’s not that you have to forget everything, just forgive and go forward. Grudges do nothing but give you wrinkles and grey hair, neither of which are sexy.
4. FIND THE HUMOR IN EVERYTHING- Honestly, what saves me from like 99.9% of things that would otherwise stress me out is the humor. I laugh at everything even when it’s not really funny in a conventional way or even if nobody around me understands why I’m laughing. It lightens the soul, it makes us happy, it makes us smile and if you look around, the world is pretty fucking funny and so are all of us that inhabit this planet. 5 year olds giggle with reckless abandon, they don’t see the dark side of anything so take that cue- even when it’s a really shitty thing that’s happened, there is usually something, even if you have to search deeply for it, that you can find to laugh about.
5. DO THINGS LIKE NOBODY IS WATCHING- That’s right. Sing in your car. Dance down the aisle of the supermarket. Eat lunch in a restaurant by yourself. Do something that puts you outside of your comfort zone. Honestly, who cares what people think or if they’re staring? Does a 5 year old care? No, they dance. They play crazy games. They sing. They perform. And when they do, they are PROUD and do it with courage. We could all take a cue from that.