As we age, we have the tendency to let ourselves get desensitized. We let the world make us numb to everything around us, all stimuli. Horror movies don’t scare us anymore, roller coasters lose their thrill, and the Autumn smell of burning leaves no longer excites us.
There are two things in adulthood that do this to us.
- The first of these is “experience.” We can’t expect the same experience to give us the same excited feeling the 100th time as it did the 1st time. This is just the body and mind adapting. For many aspects in life, this would be a positive thing, but for positive feelings/sensations it is a bummer.
- “Adult Brain” (that is what I like to call it anyway). On our journeys to adulthood we develop a sense of routine and responsibility, which in turn develops a habit of constant future planning combined with “elsewhere focus”. Always our mind is on the next responsibility, the next task. Often even when there is no hurry and we have plenty of time. Seldom are we focused on the here and now.
If we are to continue to find joy in life, we have to do our best to fight these bad habits we develop into adulthood. We have to maintain and/or regain our sensitivity to the experiences and sensations around us.
Here are some ways I have discovered to kick our numbness, and regain sensitivity, excitement, and appreciation for the world around us. Ways to rediscover value in experiences we have forgotten:
- Live a more Minimalist lifestyle. It’s simple: Fewer possessions, fewer unnecessary activities that add little value, fewer relationships that add little value, all lead to less responsibility. Free up our lives and minds to let real life find it’s way in again.
- Add meditation and mindfulness to our lives. Through meditation and meditative practices, we can make ourselves sensitive again to the fruits life has to offer. These are mental practices that re-teach us to live in the moment and be fully present.
- Re-learn how to live again from our children. I bet you never though the little children had anything to teach YOU. During moments when we spend time with our children, let them lead the way, and let ourselves dive in to those moments (minds hearts and hands). Children will bring us back to the world, to the joys and discovery of so much we have forgotten and taken for granted. Children will bring us back to appreciating the simple things in life again.
I happen to believe that this numbness we gain in adulthood is one of the things that fuel our desire to live a life of excess. After all, if we become numb to the sensations around us, we are naturally going to look for the next “fix” somewhere else; when nature and life’s natural thrills no longer satisfy, we look to possessions to fill that desire.