As a busker, I spend a lot of my time sat down, in the middle of the high street, and often I people watch. It’s fascinating, catching snippets and creating stories of someones life; what are they doing, where are they going and what kind of person are they. This beginning almost opens up a hundred different avenues to go down and write about. But I want to write about the children that I see from a fly-on-the-wall perspective.
Children are curious, they’re creative and they’re just so amazed by the things that surround them. When they see someone playing music on the streets, their reaction is interesting to watch;
“look at that guitar man!”,
“look Mum, what’s he doing?”,
“whoaw, two guitars!”,
“wat u doinnnnnn?!”,
“what is that you are playing?”,
“can I have a go?”,
“my Daddie plays guitar!”,
“I play piano, and I’m really really good, I can play twinkle twinkle star, can you play twinkle twinkle star?”…
Their excitement just to run up and say exactly whats on their mind is wonderful, like they’re running towards you holding this colourful water balloon that pops and explodes into words, questions and wonder. Sometimes they’ll get really close to the ‘stage’ and just stare intensely, like they’re amazed but haven’t learnt how to react to it just yet. At times, this is the first live musical experience the child is having – how amazing is that? A human, a tiny and new to this world human has yet to discover where music comes from. Perhaps they’ve seen it on a screen before, but not yet in real life. That first experience of seeing live music, must be incredible, absolutely incredible. I can’t quite remember my first time experiencing live music, but I remember as a child I would always be amazed watching my Dad play chords on the guitar. The fact that this thing, this wooden strange shaped thing, would create such a cool sound, what the fridge?!
There’s a lesson to be learnt by children, a lesson I feel people neglect at times. But this lesson of showing curiosity. As following your curiosities leads you down incredible and life-changing paths. To ask questions about everything in life, “What are wasps actual purpose other than to annoy the hell out of us?”, “What would happen if I hung upside down and painted this forest that I see?”, “Where does that off-road path lead?”, “What if I just packed in this job I hate and move to Canada and work in a cafe?” etc etc. I could list a billion questions as there’s an infinite things to be curious about in this world and within our minds, but I don’t want to spend all of time writing questions, I want to spend all of time exploring my curiosities – “What would happen if I write daily blog posts and send them to magazines, companies etc? Could I turn it into a job?” (my current curiosity).
Elizabeth Gilbert writes in ‘Big Magic’, how following your curiosity is more important than following your passion. That you should learn to ask the questions that lead you onward. Each footstep being a new question, each question leading you closer to a new discovery, each discovery gifting you new knowledge, each bit of knowledge building further understanding of this world, then ultimately understanding which bit of the world you want to fit into, which job you want to pursue, which person to love, where to live etc. Curiosity takes you down this wonderful path, a path of growth and knowledge.
Children seem to have this skill of curiosity. I don’t have children of my own, I wish to one day, but I have younger siblings, and their curiosities fascinate me greatly. The way in which they word questions at times;
“Where are you going to live tomorrow? then where are you going to live next week?” – my little sister Emily asked as I was hugging goodbye, both leaving Forest of Dean, Emily leaving with the family back to Worcestershire, me leaving towards Cardiff. Perhaps the way in which a question is asked is different to curiosity, but it sits within context to how creative a child’s mind is. That process in her mind of, ‘James visits lots of different places, so where does he live? does he move house all the time?’, it’s her curiosity to understand something by just asking the question that comes to mind. Sometimes I feel as adults we get too worried about just asking a question, the fear of looking a fool or being judged by another, but you shouldn’t live in fear of what others think of you, otherwise you’ll never get to express yourself fully – just be you! Because YOU are you for a reason, we’re each different and unique, we all matter, YOU matter!
Following the curiosity of a child’s curiosity asking questions, I’ve started doing it more. Spending time in hostels, passes you by lots of people, all with interesting stories and knowledge to share, different views on the world, with great conversations and discussions to have. There was a stage in my life where I was too afraid to ask someone a question, so I would just presume the answer myself, which often lead to me being anti-social, feeling alone and sometimes depression would peep into my mind, “alone are ya? feeling like you can’t speak to anyone? yep, you can’t, alone forever, no one wants to hear your voice, sorry, that’s just the way it is” (now through the act of daily training in self-love and meditation, I stand up and push that awful voice away). I only wish I’d got the courage to ask people questions sooner, but it’s all a growing process.
Now when I walk into a hostel room and see someone, I’ll ask them a question about their presence here, unless their in meditation position sat on the kitchen table – don’t disturb their peace. But it leads to a wonder of conversations and I’ll always come out with new knowledge, they know the land better and can direct me to a cool place to visit, or they’ll share an interesting book to read or musician to check out, or suggest an idea with my personal travels. This curiosity has filled my journals with interesting entries and made my days so much better. Recently driving quite late to a hostel, I was feeling a little low and just wanted to shut off from the world, but to check into the hostel I had to walk into the bar, and I had to interrupt a group conversation, “where you heading dude?…awesome! Why? ….oh really you’re a busker? …I used to be too …yeah I travelled all over” = cool conversation that pulled me from the darkness my mind was brewing.
What I want to leave you with, is that – to follow your curiosities, to go on a life long epic quest to find the answer to all those questions that come into your mind from some place either internal or external. To ask a stranger why he’s shouting poetry on top of a phone-box (oh Theo, I do hope you’re okay). To ask the world where you should go. To ask yourself the deep questions inside, to ask questions to help you understand yourself more. To follow your curiosity in a career or university course. Trust me (or don’t, that’s cool, chances are we haven’t met), when you start following your curiosities it’ll take down some amazing paths, it’ll bring amazing people into your life, it’ll make you feel amazing and it’ll make you thirst for more questions and more knowledge. It’ll also help you discover what you do and don’t like, where you want to and don’t want to be, who you do and don’t want to spend your time with.
Curiosity + Action = Adventure & Growth
I do fear that some parents are shutting out curiosity within their children, like it’s a bad thing to be curious. I see and hear it a lot, a child will be trailing behind their Mum who is focused deeply on moving forwards and scrolling their phone simultaneously, “Mum! look at that man playing guitar! look Mum, Look!”, the Mum responding after the child shouts this 3 or 4 times, doesn’t look back at the child “Come on, hurry up, stop being slow!” – maybe the Mum is actually being slow here? Where the child wants to follow curiosity?
I’ve seen this scenario many times, now I don’t know the situation or the people, so I can’t make judgement on them, they could be rushing to drive somewhere super important. But from the body language of the parent I fear they get annoyed to often at their young for being curious. Is it so bad to ask questions? The child has sometimes pulled their parent to turn around, but they just shut down the child’s curiosity. Or the parent will drag the child away quickly, in fear that the busking man will infect them with a creative outburst – oh dam not that bug!
Look at this;
This little girl, Freda is just incredible, her Mum too. This is why curiosity is so important, because it makes us do wonderful things like this, it makes us happy! Look how happy she is just jumping about making up dance moves! If her dancing doesn’t make you smile, then…..
Thank you for reading my words and follow this journey.
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Have a great day!