today i went to the seattle aquarium with my dad and my brother. none of us had ever been there before, and we had a wonderful time seeing all of the different marine life and my brother and i even got to touch some starfish and anemones in a tidal pool (!).
photo courtesy of la maison bretonne
my favorite thing about my experience at the aquarium was observing the younger children that were there. my brother and i were way older than the majority of the kids there; most of them seemed to be between the ages of 3 and 9. their reactions to the fish in the aquariums were so precious. i heard multiple children say “nemo!” as they pointed to a clownfish, and i heard another girl, probably 5-years old, say “this fish is just beautiful!” and it seems like every child i passed, regardless of age, would see an animal or fish and say “mom, look at that! look!” or “dad, this is so cool!” i didn’t see any kids that looked bored; for all of them, the level of excitement was high.
watching and hearing these kids’ excitement made me kind of envious. they were so excited, and so amazed and impressed by everything, and i feel like that’s a quality that all children have but that they lose once they become adults. it makes sense: children encounter new things all the time because of the sheer fact that they have only been alive and conscience of their environment for a few years; with adults, after a certain point, it’s like nothing is surprising anymore, like we’ve seen it all. i would give anything to have a child’s sense of wonder, to be in awe of everything, to absorb everything without bias, to not be cynical.
i wonder if the jadedness of adulthood can be reversed, if one could make a conscious effort to alter their perception, to try to see everything as if through the eyes of a child. i think it’s something worth attempting to undertake. especially for one such as i, who is constantly disappointed by the failure of people and institutions to live up to my expectations. i think it could be good for my generally dour disposition, and for my writing. i’ll let you know how it goes.