“Hakuna Matata, what a wonderful phrase…”
A meerkat and a warthog dancing and singing with a lion, with no worries…Yet, what does Hakuna Matata mean in our world?
It feels like a direct connection to a worry-free childhood. Some of us had the privilege to live in a peaceful environment, that in an ideal world should not be a privilege but should be the norm. For, it is a moment in life where everything is possible – everything is an opportunity to learn, explore, and have fun. It is a state of openness, curiosity, and excitement.
Does this mean that adults cannot go and feel ‘Hakuna Matata’ anymore?
No, I do not think so, and nor should you. The stages after childhood are small steps towards learning about the systems we live in and how to thrive in them, or unfortunately, sometimes merely how to survive them. Nevertheless, you do not need to be a kid to open up to what the world has to offer; you do not need to be a kid to be curious and excited. That is your choice. Today.
When facing challenges, we should not forget that there are people out there ready to help. ‘Hakuna Matata adulting-version’ means selecting the people you surround yourself with, so that when you forget about being happy – they are there to remind you. Friends or family reminding you to take it easy on you. Friends or family taking you out on trips or small local places and events. That is solely one of the external ingredients.
The rest is … You. Your mindset and your approach.
Personally, traveling is what has taught me my internal ‘Hakuna Matata’.
When traveling, the usual worries of regular life do not exist job deadlines, bills, busy schedules. Instead, you can create your day. You select what to invest your time in, with whom. You learn that it is better to be in your own amazing company than with someone who doesn’t add anything, on the contrary, subtracts, to your day or life. Moreover, most people you meet have the ‘Hakuna Matata’ approach too: everyone is excited to explore, learn, be in charge of their day, and enjoy life. People help you, because they are in the same boat as you, or had been previously. You also learn that if your attitude is right and if you give around you to the people who deserve so, you will be fine. It will be fine.
Sometimes I forget such lessons, and I need to remind myself about what the road teaches you. Improvising, being careful when needed, being open-minded to what comes, and remember it will be fine. Life challenges you in many ways and you will find yourself wondering ‘WHY?’, ‘Why me?’, ‘Why XYZ more than once. And that is fine. That is part of the journey and you cannot let that moment win over the possible great outcomes of your life. You need to step back for a moment. Be present like the animals around you – like the Lion King crew.
I used to wonder why traveling made me feel in a certain way. Then, it all became clear: when traveling, we are present. We leave behind the worries of the past and the future. We realize we cannot change the former and cannot control the latter, therefore we live day by day. Possibly planning ‘tomorrow’ at the end of the day, if at all. We need time off, we need holidays, we need to travel to appreciate what we have and feel free.
Free from being bombarded by daily negativity, by stressful thoughts, by ‘what if’. This pandemic took away a lot from many people while also showing flaws around our world. We live in a moment where ‘Hakuna Matata’ seems purely fiction. Yet, it is a state of mind we need back. Once the pandemic started, I knew I had to learn how to find that spirit, without the freedom to move. So, my focus changed. I focused on what I had and what opportunities I could take. I felt lucky to be in a country where nature is easily accessible. I felt lucky I was surrounded by the right people. I felt lucky the situation gave me the chance to dive more into my passions and personal projects.
I do not have an answer for your Hakuna Matata, I just hope that by reading this you decide to search for it. Something to stay sane in this insane world we currently (and generally) live in. I hope you find your Hakuna for the challenges you are facing and your Matata for the excitement you need to bring back. I hope you find a way to feel free, take action to live the life you know can make you happy, to find the help you know you need to get to the next step.
I hope you find a way to deal with all that is happening and may happen next, in a way you do not lose hope; you do not lose the will to fight for your rights; you do not lose the happy child you were or the happy person you were at some point.
Hakuna Matata my friend – our problem-free philosophy.