Curiosity As Life Force

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My grandsons are in town. Today is the day to visit Discovery Place, Charlotte’s exceptional science museum.

Admission is $10 for “adults,” but it’s only $8 for the boys and for me. I’m officially a “Senior Citizen.” That’s a term my mother loathed.

Whenever someone called Mom a “senior citizen,” she would tell them she was no such thing. “Being a citizen doesn’t have ranks,” she would say, “I was never a junior citizen.”

I wish she’d lived to see these boys. The lake near our place has a gazillion frogs and the boys want to catch every one. They bubble over with energy and ideas and they love to explore whether it’s near the lake or in a book.

The boys are endlessly curious. People like to say that’s a characteristic of the young, but I think it’s what life is about.

It is the curious who discover cures for dread diseases, change the way the world works, and develop new technologies. And it is the curious who live rich lives.

Both my parents were curious to the end. I remember my dad, in the hospital for the final time, questioning the nurse who came to check his vital signs about the meaning of a pin she was wearing. My mother died with airline tickets in her purse for her next “discovery trip.”

It must be easy to let the challenges of life drive out curiosity, because so many people seem to stop wondering about things so early. But you don’t have to. You can stay curious right to the end, even if your body fails.

Just practice this handy phrase: “I wonder …”

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