Reverb10, Day 4

Author: Jeff Davis

Prompt: Wonder. How did you cultivate a sense of wonder in your life this year?

You remember back in high school, when one of the cool kids would declare something you secretly loved unhip? Maybe it was a food or a band or a clothing style, but you kept your mouth shut or maybe nodded in agreement as your stomach sank in disappointment at never being able to reveal that part of you. It was just easier to pretend. Hopefully somewhere after high school you developed the ability to stick up for your tastes and hobbies, to declare that yes, you're going to bop along to the Jackson Five or that you're just nuts for avocado, and you don't really care what others think about that.

It's still hard for me. The group we hang out with through Wyl's classes is very educated on the history of popular music - there are a few published authors in the group, and they hold a music club every month to share new, cool stuff. I really feel like a hanger-on at these club meetings, even though no one's made me feel that way - it's all me. I keep my opinions to myself and I've never brought any music. It's too scary to expose yourself that way. (I'm getting to the prompt, I swear.)

But here's what makes me feel better: I think about the time the professor that organizes the group brought in this ridiculous pop-country song, something about a new pair of blue jeans, sung by some flash in the pan chick, and just declared his love for it, and didn't back down, or justify, or apologize. It was fearless and a very adult thing to do. And everyone was okay with it; some smiled but most listened seriously. And he wasn't any less cool for it.

Here's my point; it's not "cool" to express wonder, or to declare a love for something small, or silly, or mundane. So I'm learning to let go of "cool". I am a kid at heart, and I can't deny that. When we went to Colorado over the summer I tried to fully experience the moments we were in. I can't tell you how exhilarating it was to stand at the top of Pike's Peak, watching a thunderstorm roll in at eye level. I couldn't have really experienced that moment if I was a sullen teen texting my BFF, to use a stereotype.

And in everyday life, there's so much to wonder at. Every time I watch one of the cats sleep, I'm amazed at the way they're put together, the softness of their fur, the rise and fall of their breath. Instead of complaining about the cold tonight, I'm excited for the beauty of the snow. I use my Pinterest to collect pictures of colors and places and gorgeous things, to remind myself of the incredible breadth of what is in this world.

To me, gratitude and wonder go hand in hand. To be instantly dismissive of half the things in the world is to reject the blessings you've got. I'm doing my best this year, and next, to begin to be open-minded and open-hearted, to let go of snobbery, and to encourage those I love to do the same. It's been a much brighter world since I began.