There is a saying that goes: you are never too old to learn.
But have you ever learned life-lessons from a 1-year-old?
I am a mom to 14-month-old girl, Aliya. My baby girl is always running around. She doesn’t walk — that would slow down her life too much. It’s funny to call her and see a happy little girl running to me.
Motherhood in the first year is a BIG challenge and I confess that ever since my daughter turned one, she’s become a diva in the making. Lots of people believe that adults are there to teach kids about life, but have we ever considered what our kids are really teaching us about living life and pursuing our dreams?
For the past few weeks, I have been very closely watching my little “Miss Levy,” and she has surprised me with life- lessons that I have forgotten. They are examples I can use when I am public speaking and they’re also examples for living a more blissful life.
5 Life Lessons in Living From a 1-year-old
1. Smile often
This is something Aliya does without even thinking. She smiles because she wants to and is loving life. Her smile is a gift to the person in the room. She shares it freely and expects you to enjoy it. I realized as adults we don’t smile enough. We tend to not show our feelings — as if we are afraid that someone might be watching us.
Light up your world by smiling.
2. Be enthusiastic
Enthusiasm comes naturally to kids because when they see something they like, they reveal it in their expression. Everything to her is a pleasant surprise or something that needs further exploration. She is curious and open to try most anything. She’s excited about what the world offers and is not afraid to show it.
Be excited about the little things and be enthusiastic about your dream life.
3. Show no Fear
There is a phase a toddler goes through that I call the “No Fear” phase. I have never seen a little girl be so courageous! Even though she makes my heart race at times, I secretly wish I had her courage. It’s refreshing to witness how children don’t care about a challenge — they just go for it. Nothing seems impossible to them and they will try, and try, and try something until get get it,or are a master of it.
Be fearless in your dream life. Go for your dream the same way a toddler goes after something they want.
4. Cry it out
I hate seeing Aliya cry. I think she knows that I am a sucker for her tears — in public. It’s not pleasant for me when she cries, but she is just being real. As soon as she’s unhappy she lets me know! As much as I despise it, I have to give my 1-year-old a high five for being completely real with me.
As adults we think being strong is the way to go and it’s smart to keep our intense feelings to ourselves. Sometimes a good cry fixes things and the tension moves into solutions.
Cry when you feel that you can’t be strong. You are entitled to feel your emotions. It doesn’t make you weak — it makes you human. Cry when your dream is getting your down — just don’t stay sad for very long. Allow the tears to clear your mind and come up with new ways to make your dream come true.
5. Dance More
My little one just loves to dance. If she hears music, she shakes her little body all over. Its so funny to me and I find myself doing a move or two. She loves it when I dance with her. I melt when she starts to giggle because of the fun she is having. Makes me realize I don’t enjoy little moments in life enough.
Dance more often for no reason. Dance around your kitchen. Dance in the shower. Even if you can’t dance, at least move to a beat once in a while. Chair dance. Car dance. Move your body in a way that makes you smile and others want to join you in your fun.
Remember to have fun while you are going for your dream life. Dance before you have to make that scary phone call — dance before you walk into the building for that job interview.
This week, my dream advice to you is to have the courage of a toddler and not be so concerned about what the rest of the world thinks. Enjoy your life by smiling more. Don’t be afraid to show strong emotions when you are feeling them and dance every chance you can.
Life is meant to be lived — not wasted in sad boredom waiting for someone else to make your dreams come true.
Get up off the couch and pretend that your dream is a favorite toy that your mother just put on top of a desk and you are a toddler. Go after it with everything you’ve got — get mad at the people who try and do it for you — and struggle and push until you’ve got that prized toy in your hand.
Because that’s what my little girl would do.
She knows how to just pursue it.
While we try to teach our children all about life,
Our children teach us what life is all about.
Sue Levy is the founder of the South African Just Pursue It Blog and Inspirational Women Initiative. She’s a motivational writer and media designer, who is obsessed with everything inspirational with a hint of geek. She thrives on teaching women how to be brave and take big chances on themselves.