Curiosity Killed the Cat? NOT A CHANCE!

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Today someone
posted a thread on Facebook that said share one thing about yourself you love. I have to admit, I am often not in love with myself. From body changes with motherhood and aging, to my lack of patience and procrastination, there are many things I would love to change.  As I read that post, however, I knew immediately one thing I totally love - my intense curiosity.

If you are on the mature side of life, you most likely were brought up with the oft repeated phrase, "Curiosity killed the cat. Common sense brought him back."  Interestingly enough, when I looked up this phrase the original version had "satisfaction brought him back," but that's not the version I was taught. Nor do I find it makes much sense. Curiosity and satisfaction are not on different sides of the coin, and I personally get intense satisfaction from being curious.

Kids during my childhood and teen years were taught the greatest way to be happy was to conform. Becoming who society said you should be would bring friends, acceptance and love.  Any deviation from the norm was frowned upon. My racing mind, inability to sit still and truly intense curiosity about people - how they lived, what they thought, what made them tick - was absolutely considered a negative, something to suppress. What a joy it was to discover at age 50 that my intense curiosity was an asset when I began interviewing. 

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Looking back over my journey, the times I was consumed with wanting to know and experience new things stand out as high moments. The memories bring a smile. There is an energy and excitement when I am on a journey of discovery, no matter what I am exploring - travel to a place I haven't been before, a physical activity I haven't tried, learning about something I am unfamiliar, trying a recipe, interviewing a person on their life.  When people say age is just a number, I always clarify. The physical journey of aging is absolutely NOT just a number. There is so much we do not have control over. But when it comes to the mental and the spiritual side of our lives, I do believe it to be true. 

Curiosity leads to new experiences and new knowledge. Curiosity leads to an expanded world and new ways of looking at things.  It bring excitement and energy. It changes us and nourishes our spirit. It challenges our mind to stay open and flexible. Those are the very qualities that keep your mind and heart young.  When you quit being curious, when you let your world become small and expected - that is when you truly become old in my opinion. 

Curiosity can lead to something as simple as trying a new type of taco, or can take us around the world. While you may prefer to be out there in the trenches zip lining, travelling and socializing, if your finances are limited or mobility are challenged, curiosity can still find a way to touch your life.  The whole world can come to you. Online courses, scenic digital walk-throughs of places you haven't been, video chats with family and friends can keep your world large.  I remember a story shared with me of two elderly people in their mid-late 90's who reached the point they needed more care.  One went in a home with a smile, joined all the activities, and Skyped often with relatives far away. The other refused to settle and socialized only the bare minimum. One let curiosity be a part of their life until the very end. The other let their world shrink. 

Photo by Jordan Whitt on Unsplash

Being curious doesn't mean you want to try everything - for instance I have no interest in climbing a sheer rock wall face or trying foods like head cheese. What it means is I always have my antennas on high alert for anything sounds interesting.  When a spark of interest appears, I take note.  Not everything happens immediately, but I try not to forget and make sure somewhere down the line I assuage that interest.

Where to start?  Just let your mind wander to things you'd said you'd like to try but never seem to get to - for me that is buddy sky diving. Try to notice what's offered around you - trails, playhouses, etc. Travel, cooking classes and other ads and articles can spark an idea. Listen to what people are sharing. Be aware of your heart's response.  If you get a MEH, then move on. If you get that tingle of "I wonder," then make a note.  I also highly suggest you write a challenge list every January 1st of things you'd like to try.  You won't get to all of them, but you'll definitely accomplish more than you would if you don't write your ideas down. 

For myself, the most gratifying experiences I have had in terms of scratching my curiosity itch is interviewing people from around the globe.  Everyone shared a totally different journey. Each offered a unique way of looking at life and defining success. Truth IS stranger than fiction. Every single interview was fascinating. Thanks all of you who let me in to your world by sharing your story. It's been too long and I feel the pull. Time to schedule a new face-to-face interview.