If I weren't writing for Elite Daily, I'd be a preschool teacher. Why? Because I freaking love toddlers.
They're at that special age when you can effectively communicate but have also learned how not to sh*t their pants. It's a golden era in life, and I absolutely love to surround myself with kids who are living it.
All during college, I worked part time as an assistant teacher at a preschool on campus. I got to spend a lot of quality time with my favorite age group, and I learned that I do not simply love them; I admire them.
Their innocence comes with a bold honesty and a fierce confidence that I think most of us could really stand to learn from. We may think there are lessons we can teach toddlers, when in fact, there are many lessons they can teach us.
On the playground, I overheard a little girl ask a little boy if she could play with him. He said, “No. I don’t really want to play with you.”
At first, I was alarmed. Is he kidding?! That is SO rude! He is absolutely getting a timeout.
But then I thought about it for a minute.
How f*cking awesome and simple would life be if we could just work up the courage to be so honest with people all of the time? How much time would we save if we weren’t wasting hours trying to figure out if someone was into us?
Oh, what I would give for so many guys to have spared me the wasted time and energy with a simple "No. I just don't really want to play with you."
Forget the timeout, I thought. This kid’s getting a high-five. Amirite?!
Dream gigantically huge.
When I was in preschool, I wanted to be a combination pop-singing sensation (I was hoping to mix Christina Aguilera’s natural talent with Madonna’s showmanship and a splash of J-Lo’s sexy, exotic flair), kindergarten teacher (I basically just wanted to be my own teacher, Miss Allison), mother of five children (like my own mom, but with three more kids and a passion for taking her kids to Toys "R" Us), and princess (Jasmine’s personality, Belle’s looks).
And just to be clear here: I wanted to be all of these things at the same time. I saw nothing out-of-reach or crazy about this. I believed that I really could have it all, if I wanted.
At least, that’s what everybody told me. We read books like "The Little Engine That Could" and were constantly reminded to “shoot for the moon.”
But then something changed. Suddenly, people started telling me to be “realistic.” Shooting for the moon became uncool. We were told to seek out the most reliable salary and best benefits.
If you shot for the moon and missed, you were supposed to "land among the stars" (The stars, of course, were the salary and benefits).
So where do you land when you miss even those? Will you regret that you never even took a swing at the moon? I feel like I would. I'm still going to aim high.
Love the sh*t out of your parents.
You know the beginning of the movie "Love Actually" when Hugh Grant talks about how he goes to the airport when he doubts that love exists and remembers that “love actually is all around”? Well, I'd go to a preschool at pick-up time (I swear I’m not a pedophile).
One look at a kid screaming for joy as he runs into his mom’s arms is enough to have me sold on love. But those preschoolers grow up, and something changes.
Our parents stop being cool, and we stop loving them in an I’m-gonna-run-into-your-arms-and-burst-into-happy-tears-at-the-sight-of-you sort of way.
There are very few people in your life whom I believe deserve this sort of love. But the two people who created you and chose to love you even when you both looked and acted like a demon sent straight from hell (remember middle school?) are, without a doubt, deserving of this love. Don’t let yourself forget that.
Embrace every single one of your emotions.
Our generation has a habit of repressing emotions. When you grow up, having feelings and mustering up the courage to let your guard down is suddenly very uncool.
You’re in love with a guy? DENY IT AT EVERY COST. Your heart got broken by him? DENY IT AT EVERY COST. You feel like you are going to burst into tears at any given second? HOLD THEM BACK, EVEN IF YOU DIE TRYING.
But who’s really winning in this game? I’m an avid player, and I can tell you I sure as hell am not.
When we were little, we let ourselves feel everything. Holding back emotions is a toxic skill we learn over time as "proof" that we are now adults.
During my teaching years, I was shocked to see a little boy run up to me, glowing with pride and gushing blood from his knee.
“Miss Candice! Miss Candice!" he said. "I fell, and it hurts so badly, but I didn’t even cry!!! I’m a big boy now, right?!”
He wanted me to be proud of him. Instead, I felt sad. This was the first of many times that this little boy would suppress his hurt and mistake that for maturity.
Never be ashamed of anything.
Adults also share my least-favorite quality: shame. We are so goddamn embarrassed about so many things.
So here’s the deal, you guys: We all pick our noses. We all cry. We all say things we probably shouldn’t have in the heat of the moment. AND WE ALL POOP.
Take a note from a four-year-old, and embrace all of this. Let your freak flag fly, and let it fly high.