Jane Goodall

When I was younger I wanted to be Jane when I grew up. I still kinda do. I used to go to the zoo with my mother with a notebook and disposable camera to record animals’ behavior, and pretend to be her. Major dork, I know. But there are just so many things I love about Jane: Her nurturing spirit. Her connection to nature. Her ability to be unapologetically herself. But maybe what I love most of all is her passion to follow her curiosity. Curiosity is what led her to go and live with chimpanzees at the ripe old age of 26, with no previous training or schooling. She was curious about animals, always had been, and decided to devote her life to their study and preservation.

Is there a more courageous act? To fearlessly follow one’s curiosity to see where it leads? I’ve been listening to Elizabeth Gilbert podcasts and just finished her latest book “Big Magic” (another woman I greatly admire). Her view on what it means to live a good life is following one’s curiosity. Not passion, but curiosity. She says the cure for depression is curiosity (after all, who can be depressed and curious at the same time), and that we should follow those little bread crumbs of curiosity as they present themselves.  Anything, no matter how big or small, that sparks a sense of wonder. In a best case scenario, they will lead us to a fulfilled life, one full of surprise, and maybe even delight. If nothing else, they will lead you through an INTERESTING life, which in my mind is far better than living a safe and BORING life. 

It’s funny how as an adult you stop noticing that tap on the shoulder from Curiosity. It’s there, but we learn to stop listening. After all, there are so many more things that NEED our attention right this moment. It’s easier to just brush those moments of wonder aside. But what if we didn’t? What if we heard that voice in our head that says “hmmm, that’s interesting…” and then actually decide to investigate it further? Dig a little deeper? Maybe it won’t lead anywhere. But maybe following that one bread crumb will lead us to a project we never thought of, a relationship we never knew was out there, to a life we never dreamed of having. We’ll never know if we don’t pay attention and give Curiosity a moment of contemplation.

So I’ve decided to try and be like Jane. Let’s see what happens.    🙂