Seeing the world like a four-year-old is easier said than done. Despite what social media would have you believe, happiness isn’t made up of a constant string of picture-perfect moments, each more saturated with beauty than the next. The truth is that even on vacation in the Greek Islands or wherever, we have to learn to move through our lives like a wide-eyed child. Even the most well-traveled among us will always have to resist any natural tendency to become jaded.
The world trains us away from existing in the present moment. This means it takes a little work to get back to “it.”
I admit that I become a slave to “it” as easily as the next guy. As a photographer it’s a constant struggle to recognize something as a moment worthy of my full attention and appreciation, as well as a potential photograph.
One only has to look on Instagram these days to recognize that capturing in-your-face beauty is relatively easy. To most people all photographs of a stunning sunset in a trodden tourist locale are fairly equal. Those bold things march right up to us. More challenging is searching and finding for your own special “it” in the every day.
This “it” doesn’t have to be traditionally beautiful. It doesn’t have to be overly saturated — in fact it can be quite dull, tonal, incongruent, hilarious, scary, mysterious, or even ugly. (Note to self: It doesn’t always — gasp— even need to be photographed.)
In a world that seems determined to predefine how we are supposed to respond to something, and to categorize any and everything as either beautiful or not, it becomes all the more challenging to hold two or more feelings together at once. We all must learn to experience our more realistic, non-ecstatic, and sometimes outright challenging feelings alongside those more in your face and obvious “Kodak moments.” 😎
We have to always keep one eye open, scanning and ready to focus on those things that will inexplicably make us feel something. Even in your own backyard. Especially in your own backyard. Even when the lawn needs mowing and there’s a trashcan and an ugly fence or something just plain weird in your site line.
Be open to the knowing that perfect beauty can be found in, or even just simply coexist with the most mundane of things. Be open to always seeing the world like the unique four-year-old that exists in all of us.