I adore my nephew. He’s a good, well behaved and precocious kid. He has a passion for cooking make believe dishes and he frequently enlists my help as his sous chef whenever he comes over. I don’t mind. I love playing with him anyway. But on one of these days, I started thinking how awesome it would be if we could all do some of things that kids do. Things like these:

1. Smile at the drop of a hat

Children have this really nice habit. At any given moment, if they find anything even remotely amusing, they smile this really broad and innocent smile which basically brightens the day of anyone who happens to be around them. Grown-ups can do that too. It might not have the same effect, but you will make someone happy for sure.

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2. Hug everything and everyone

Kids are good at this too. They’re all like, “Mom gets a hug. Dad gets a hug. Grandma gets a hug. Come here doggy, you get a hug too.” I’m not saying you take this advice to heart and hug random strangers. But whenever you get the time of whenever you feel like it, dole out free hugs to your friends and family. And screw it, if you can pull it off, hug random strangers too.

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3. Look at the world with wonder

Ever seen a kid’s eyes go wide with amazement when they see something cool, new or shiny? Well, grown-ups see cool, new and shiny things as well. All the time. But life has a way of taking away that sparkle of delight in our eyes and replacing it with the dullness of cynicism. What if we could throw that off and look at the world from the eyes of a child? Pretty much everything would be pretty damn awesome all the time.

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4. Ask questions. Hundreds of questions

You can imagine a kid asking these questions, right?

“What is a star?” “Why are they in the sky?” “Why do they glow?”

Well, astronomers ask advanced versions of the same questions. See why asking questions is important?

It’s not stupid. It’s not embarrassing. And it’s not “childish.” Ask away.

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5. Go out and play

I think one reason that children are so goddam happy all the time is that they put in a lot of physical exercise into their day. Of course, for them it’s all fun and games. So what stops us from being active, taking up a sport and hanging out with our friends every evening? “Chalo kheleny chaltey hain!”

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6. Make friends easily

When we were kids, we used to strike up friendships based on things like, “We both like the same cartoon. Yay!” Now, we feel compelled to do background checks on everyone we meet and keep them at arm’s length until they’ve proven they’re worthy. Very Hunger Game-ish don’t you think? Let down your guard and talk to someone new. Who knows, that person might just become your best friend.

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7. Get really excited. Even for little things

I love playing Peek-A-Boo with my nephew. No matter how many times I do it, the little ball of mischief giggles in the exact same way and bats his hands at my face. Goes to show how easily kids get excited. And stay excited. A lot of people say how their lives have become all dull and nothing excites them anymore. What if we tried doing small things differently every day? No two days would be the same. And we’d be a lot more satisfied.

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8. Think like a kid

Kids are encumbered with the weight of years of education and sermonization. It’s easier for them to consider new ideas and thoughts. It’s easier for them to unlearn and re-learn. To be accepting of others. To come up with innovative solutions and witty answers for problems that often befuddle adults. If we can imbibe just a bit of that creativity and genuineness of thought, we’d be unstoppable. The next time someone says you think like a kid, say “Thanks!”

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9. Don’t be afraid to do whatever the hell you like

We don’t try a lot of things because we’re afraid of failure. We’re afraid of what others might think and say. We’re afraid of making “fools” out of ourselves. Not kids. They just don’t give a flying f***. That is also the reason why they try a hundred different things every month, just for the novelty. And if someone laughs at them, they laugh right back! And to a certain degree, that’s how we should try to be as well.

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10. Say what’s in your heart

A lot of times, our relationships suffer because we’re not able to tell our loved ones what we’re really thinking or convey to them that we care for them. We’re afraid of the truth. Afraid of speaking our minds. Let’s not be. Let yourself be a kid sometimes and say what’s on your mind. I’m not saying we should all wear our hearts on our sleeves all the time. But a little honest self-expression does wonders for the soul.

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11. Think anything is possible

My cousin picked up his son and started cajoling him to finish his food. My nephew laughed and giggled but would not touch his food. In his best mock threatening voice, my cousin said that he would lock him in the bathroom. Kid goes, “Main darwaza todd ke nikal jaunga!” (I’ll break the door down!) I couldn’t help but laugh at his audacity and at the same time, marvel at his self-confidence. They say that according to the laws of physics, Bumblebees shouldn’t be able to fly. But they don’t know physics, so they fly anyway. Not to say that my nephew would have actually broken the door down, but it’s nice to know that he “thought” he could. Isn’t that what faith in oneself is all about?

12. Be happy for no reason at all

I was playing with my nephew the other day when I randomly asked him, “Itney khush kyun ho aaj?” (Why are you so happy today?) to which he replied, “Aise he! Hahahaha.” (Just like that!) I smiled for the rest of the day.

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