Gone missing: A sense of wonder


For some time now I’ve had the sense that something important was missing. I checked and all my underwear is in place, my tires have been rotated and bills are paid up for another month. What could it be?

I changed my toothpaste, bought some bubble bath and toyed with the idea of quitting my job and moving to Nepal. But then I remembered I am retired and have no job. Does anyone know where Nepal is?

wonnnnderYes, sadly, somewhere during the last five decades I seem to have lost my child-like sense of wonder – that endless curiosity about the world around me. As a result, life has taken on the dull flat gray hue of stagnant water.

Have I become so used to my surroundings that I stopped seeing them?  Suddenly I feel like I’m living in town called Complacency and it’s just down the road from Boringville, a suburb of Stagnant City.

Humans are a weird bunch. We love security and safety, familiarity and comfort. But we also shrivel without freedom and excitement, adventure, novelty and there’s that word again – wonder.

It’s time to shake things up, a little voice in my head was shouting. Unfortunately that’s the same voice that talked me into switching my living with my dining room. It didn’t work all that well but it’s too overwhelming to put things back where they belong. Consequently, I don’t trust that little voice any longer. Still. Maybe it’s not too late to de-frump my life and find wonder buried underneath.

Someone suggested I do something outrageous like putting vanilla pudding in an empty mayonnaise jar and eating it while walking around Wal-Mart. That seemed a bit pointless and what would it accomplish except to verify that I am one taco short of a combination plate? Maybe I should just adopt an imaginary friend like when I was four.


I did what I always do when the winter doldrums invade my life. I went shopping. Within a half hour, I was feeling that ole sense of wonder again. I wondered who the heck is buying those wedge sneakers (pictured left – why?) feather headdresses and ugly Christmas sweaters. They were all marked down to pennies on the dollar and no one was buying. I wasn’t buying, I was just getting my wonder back.

My only purchase was a florescent orange pair of bikers shorts which at $2.75 I couldn’t resist. Maybe some day I’ll buy a bike.


As usual, shopping had served to cheer me up, and I walked back to my car feeling refreshed. I glanced up at the sky just in time to see a fluffy white cloud drift by and I swear it was in the shape of an ice cream cone. It was being chased by another cloud that looked just like a fireman. For just a moment, I felt it – that elusive sense of wonder. It wasn’t the same as the four-year old version, but the adult version would have to do for now.

Emily Braddock Jones is a retired journalist whose book “Love, Laughter and Losing My Keys” has been listed among the top ten reads in Mississippi.

7 thoughts on “Gone missing: A sense of wonder

  1. sounds like our something our son said while he was visiting us during the holidays, …”must feel invigorating to have young folks around,,,” ( yes, we tried to stay up past 8:30 and even acted like we didn’t mind missing Fox News! )

  2. Haha Martha. ME too!! To look like a hip ole lady I set the TV on CNN and watched the world’s most boring newscasters deliver information I’d rather not see while serving acorn squash stuffed with quinoa. When the young foks left, I discovered my printer is set on copy and I don’t know how to change it back and I have all these new electronic gismos I’ll never learn to use. Still, i live for the holidays. Go figure.

  3. Great post! I love the idea of walking around Wal-Mart eating pudding out of a mayonnaise jar (except, I wonder if anyone would notice or think it is strange… that’s a very weird store). Never lose your sense of wonder… or humor.

  4. Hmmm…I don’t know. You writing seems pretty wonder-full to me.
    So creative, deep, and stimulating. Make this post the first page of your next book.

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