She was dressed in pink sweatpants with the word, “sweet” emblazoned on her diaper-clad bottom.
On her feet were brown clogs. Atop her head was a wool, knitted, patchwork cap of pink, yellow, and red, giving her a pastel “Rastafarian” look. However, instead of dreadlocks wrapped within, a waterfall of blonde, bouncy, curls framed her wide-open blue eyes and light complexion.
In her chubby, small, right hand, she carried what used to be a cookie; now, however, all that remained was a half eaten, saliva-covered, dollop of doughy goo with a smattering of pink frosting encrusting the edges. “Cookie” in hand, she bounded as if on springs from one corner of the bakery to the other, her grandfather always in eye shot, as she pointed to each of the items on the bottom shelf of the bakery’s glass case, looking to him for the correct word.
“Cookie,” he said, as she pointed to a green, sprinkle covered cut-out of a dinosaur.
She inspected the pastry, decided she was satisfied with his answer, and then proceeded to the next item, pointing her finger at the glass and looking to him for the mot juste.
“Donut,” he said.
“Dunt,” she echoed.
“Yes, that’s right: donut,” he replied, smiling and tussling her cap.
As she progressed along the casing, “bagel,” “bearclaw,” and “éclair” were added to her lexicon.
As young ones are prone to do, she became bored with the vocabulary lessons and resumed her exploration of the room, lifting and rising with each alternate footfall, swinging her gooey mass of drooly cookie remnant in her right hand. Methodically, she approached — one by one — the patrons at each table; each of whom couldn’t help but smile (and this one in particular who was inspired by her actions to write).
As she made eye contact with each of us, there was no fear of judgment in her expression; no self-doubt, questioning what others thought of her actions. In this moment, at this time, she was complete, everything she needed to be. All in her world was perfect.
They — whomever “they” are — have erroneously told us that confidence is acquired as the result of years on the planet. Yet, after observing this energetic, welcoming, unabashed toddler, I wonder; maybe self-assurance is our birthright — not the self-doubt with which we saddle ourselves. As we grow older, in many ways we have become less ourselves, not more; little by little giving up what we want for fear of what “they” might say. And therefore, we put off our goals, we hide our dreams under a bushel, and rarely do we rise to the glory of who we can be. Said nineteenth century British politician, Benjamin Disraeli, “Most people will go to their graves with their music still in them.”
Her adventure in the bakery now complete, a small white paper bag now clutched in her fist where the mushy pastry had been, she left the business, waving “bye-bye” to each of the customers while her grandfather held patiently open the heavy glass door.
It’s interesting how much you can pick up from someone who can’t even speak a word.
About the author: Scott “Q” Marcus is a motivational productivity expert and weight loss speaker. He is the CRP (Chief Recovering Perfectionist) of www.ThisTimeIMeanIt.com and founder of 21DayHabitChange.com, guaranteed to help you change a habit in just 3 weeks. He can be reached at 707.442.6243, email@example.com or facebook.com/ThisTimeIMeanIt.