Life update: I’ve spent 25 days out of the past 30 days wrangling wild animals that bite for 7 hours straight.
In other words, I was a camp counselor all of June 🙂 This involved lots of screaming (my favorite thing I yelled at one child being “no gambling at camp!”), forgetting that random children I see outside of work aren’t mine to chastise, and thinking to myself one too many times, “this is it. I’m getting my tubes tied at the age of 16 and never having children…like ever.”
With all this being said, I genuinely enjoyed every second I spent with the 3-11-year olds there. I learned that even though I’m only 8 or so years older than these kids, they’ve grown up with a completely different pop culture than I have. Gizmo watches are all the rage, social media is a part of their daily life already, and every single lyric in “Old Town Road” is basic knowledge. It was both shocking and intriguing to discover how quickly times have changed from my childhood to theirs, but there was something that shocked and intrigued me even more than the quick roll-over of pop culture.
There was one expectation I had of the kids that–to my utter surprise–was immediately refuted. I had expected the counselors to introduce an activity and some of the kids to be excited, but others to brush it off and be “too cool” to participate. I had expected kids to say “That’s stupid” or “That’s boring” without even trying to have fun on the field trip. I had expected us, the counselors, to have to convince the kids through tiny shoves and polite screaming to do an activity if they weren’t interested. In short, I had expected a lack of excitement.
However, something I noticed right off the bat on my first day of the job was that these kids were genuinely excited about EVERYTHING…like pure, unadulterated joy radiating from every single one of their tiny pores type of excited. And it amazed me. I remember rehashing my first week to my mom saying, “I don’t know what I expected, but these kids are so excited about every activity, craft, game, and field trip. They’re so eager to do it all and it’s so cool!”
I can’t remember the last time I was excited about something as little as making a seashell necklace or getting to ice a cupcake to resemble a bear. It was pleasantly surprising and quite refreshing to spend time with people who were just, quite frankly, enjoying being alive. Not that I don’t enjoy being alive, I very much do, but for the kids it was like the stress and fear of the future was nonexistent.
Being around this for four weeks reminded me that sometimes, I need to let go.
Lately, when I’ve been with friends the stress of junior year and keeping up with Absolutely Olivia is constantly pounding in the back of my mind. I come home less high off of happiness and more down about what’s to come. There’s no reason for this, I just can’t seem to let go. Excitement over little things is something I’ve forgotten and hasn’t occurred in a while for me.
Instead, I get this jittery feeling that’s negative nervousness rather than excitement as I ask myself: Should I be studying for the SAT right now? Should I be writing a blog post? Should I be spending more time with my family? Should I be letting myself rest? It took real-life interactions with kids to remind me that a lot of times, it really is the simple things in life.
My last day of work was this past Friday and I’m headed to Europe in a week. I’m ready to implement what I learned as a camp counselor for the rest of the summer. I want to feel excitement over the little things.
I want you to feel excitement over the little things as well.
That’s mainly what this post is; a reminder to enjoy the simpler things in life even when fears and worries of the future are bothering you. Live in the moment. Do what excites you. Don’t let anyone stop you.
This is easier said than done and in all honesty, I’m having a hard time implementing this lesson into my daily life. But I’m doing my best to keep the joy of the kids in the forefront of my mind as I go about my daily activities. We all deserve to have some excitement in our lives, so why not start small?