Another Missing Connection

From Paul Bell

“A life lived to the full cries out for the simple yet vital addition that is Excitement.”

There is a wonderful, exploding body of knowledge on the benefits of a good diet and adequate exercise. These benefits may be sufficient for supporting, enhancing and even lengthening our lives. However, I believe that this ever so precious span of life requires more than simply just remaining healthy and sane. It deserves something that can add the most vivid of color to our possibly monochrome life. In my experience, a life lived to the full cries out for the simple yet vital addition that is Excitement. An emotion so simple, potentially plentiful and clearly invigorating, yet often overlooked. Excitement is a pleasure many of us step aside from, grow too mature for, or even attempt to suppress in order to fit within our ‘cool’ culture. Far too often, we fail to recognize the true value of, or seek out, that which is Excitement.

“With the presence of excitement, one can achieve a sense of endless energy”

Excitement can benefit both mind and body. Normal feelings of fatigue, diminished stamina or lack of the strength to achieve something, can all be overcome successfully through the presence of excitement. With the presence of this excitement, one can achieve a sense of endless energy pouring forth and of time no longer counting. Each of us can be excited by different things but the experiences and benefits are very similar. Despite how simple it sounds; we all know how hard it can be to just ‘let things go’. By feeling rather than just thinking, excitement can do just that. Becoming more focused and energized by something, everything else can just fall away. The spectrum of excitement intensity can vary greatly, from the mild where one tends to enjoy whatever it is that you are doing (a favorite song comes on the radio), to the intense, which has the potential to create very memorable and life-changing moments (news that a new baby is on the way or arriving at a peak that had once seemed so impossibly far away). All these levels are a wonderful addition to your life.

“Elders and educators often attempt to control or suppress the excited child.”

But the question remains, if this is such an easy, beneficial emotion, why do so many of us gradually lose our ability to become excited? It is so easy to observe endless excitement in a young child. I believe it is also one of the greatest thrills of being a parent, grandparent or teacher, that we are placed in a role from which to enhance and build upon that excitement. Or is it such a thrill? Elders and educators often attempt to control or suppress the excited child. Our culture often cooly steps back from an individual explaining their new discovery, adventure, secret or invitation to join them in their incredibly exciting experience. We so often feel we have “been there, done that”. We’re distracted in our multi-tasking daily existence. We have reputations, common sense and we have never even dreamt of being excited by such things. However, luckily for us, excitement is such a powerful emotion that it can also be highly contagious. Despite our occasional efforts to the contrary it continues to thrive and spread a genuine joy and thrill.

“Excitement is often created in the moment of trying new experiences”

One of the reasons we perhaps tend to shy away from embracing excitement, is the emotion that is fear. Excitement is often created in the moment of trying new experiences, but somehow, somewhere there is also often an element of fear in those moments. How often have you felt shy to get up and dance, but several minutes later, lost in the excitement, you find you have forgotten that fear completely. Overcoming a challenge that you did not feel you could, getting lost and then finding your way out, discovering a new fact that suddenly makes a concept clear, dancing freely alone or in unusual circumstances, all can fuel excitement despite seeming a little frightening at first.

As an example of this practice my wife and I recently decided to eat two plant-based meals per day in order to reduce our damaging impact on the planet. As a contented omnivore I suspected I was going to find this very difficult and indeed at first this sensible idea seemed challenging to the point of drudgery. However, creating these new dishes, doing without so many previous staples and experiencing a host of new and unexpected tastes soon became a daily excitement. Through these exciting elements, the potential challenge became a surprisingly easy pleasure.

“The list of experiences that excite us is infinite”

The list of experiences that excite us is infinite, but the content must also excite your emotions rather than just being a good idea. Just watch a young child to be reminded of how easy it is to find something to become excited about. “Do I really want to behave as if I am a ten-year-old?” Well, partially you do. As a grandparent, experiencing my granddaughter in her excitement reminds me of how much I am excited about. Being alive, carrying out everyday tasks and experiencing as many new things as I dare all have the potential to bring me feelings of excitement. Excitement brings me to my peak performance, it finds me jumping eagerly out of bed in the morning, achieving tasks that I never thought I would have the energy for, and even succeeding at the highly improbable. May excitement energize you and purge your existential dilemmas. Just try it, seek it out, go beyond yourself. It is a fine, colorful addition to your mind and body.

Paul Bell lives a life of both physical and mental adventures. He is passionate about education and has enjoyed teaching and challenging children in the outdoors, and helping large project and company teams raise their performance levels. He currently lives and adventures in the Canadian Rockies, sails the Pacific coast and finds life very exciting.