The Lost Butterfly

- jim Young 2002/20080308

The worst thing about being a child is you can’t wait to be a grown-up.
The worst thing about being grown-up is you forget how to be a child. 

My daughter Ange, smelling a flower, 1979.

As a child, you never had to “stop to smell the roses” because that’s pretty much all you did – all day – every day. But as a child you didn’t just “smell the roses”.

You examined every detail.

The velvety touch of the petals became a new experience even if you touched them yesterday or even an hour ago. The fragrance was fresh and unique as you inhaled its aroma, and the colours exuded the brilliance of the rainbow as if you had stepped into the World of Oz from the dreary black and white existence of everyday life.

There was nothing lost in the rose’s beauty as you plucked each petal one by one and let it float gently to your feet. There was no concern that by doing so, you wouldn’t be able to enjoy its beauty tomorrow. For tomorrow there would be something fresh, new and equally exciting to take its place.

But probably the greatest thing about being a child was the butterflies in your stomach that flit about in the same manner as the monarchs or moths that you would chase through a dew covered field of long grass. For as a child there was nothing to differentiate between monarchs or moths. Each was equally beautiful and fascinating.

What caused these butterflies in your stomach? No doubt there is a scientific explanation just as there is one that separates monarchs from moths. Grown-ups seem to have a need to discover “scientific explanations” for most everything. But as a child, you just enjoyed them.

And when was the last time you experienced “butterflies” in your stomach?

For that is the secret of eternal youth – to find ways to keep butterflies in your stomach. As long as each day can be a new and exciting experience, filled with roses to smell and butterflies to chase you need never fear growing old.

- 30 -

My children picking dandelions, 1979.

My son Mike, climbing a tree, 1979.


  1. I know this is a repost but the timing was very appropriate for Brenda and I. We had just been talking about how busy the last month or two have been and agreed that we would slow down and be more mindful of what is going on.
    We found that when we focused on 'getting things done' we lose the child like enjoyment of just being in the moment.

    1. I remember a quote from one of your grandchildren. I try to live by that and when I wake up in the morning I like to look outside the window and repeat his words. "It's Daytime!"


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