Monday, September 24, 2012

little things

I've been thinking about the saying, "it's the little things in life," lately. I like the idea that small, simple, inexpensive experiences or items that can brighten your day. These little things are different for each individual, depending on their likes and dislikes and what obstacles their lives have thrown at them. 

Oftentimes, it's difficult to take joy and pleasure in the little things. We get caught up in our memories, our fears, our concerns about the future, and we forget to take pause and savor those tiny moments. The only moment we have to live is the present moment, but our fast-paced society, obsessed with money and material possessions, and our overstimulated brains challenge us on every step of our journey through life.

On the other hand, some people tend to lose sight of the purpose of savoring those small moments. It becomes yet another source of their anger or frustration when a little thing doesn't go their way. I believe the reason these moments are so important is that their presence can bring great happiness, but their absence should not bring outrage or displeasure. By becoming enraged in the face of a little thing gone amiss, it's becomes too big to be a moment, no longer a little thing worth savoring.

An example from my job comes to mind. I used to work in the café and I interacted with so many different types of people. Some became furious at the first sign that something may not go the way they wanted, while others remained calm or even cheerful, even if several items they desired were out of stock, or service was much too slow. I recall one customer in particular, an older woman, who ordered a non-fat, sugar-free vanilla latté. Despite the skinny drink, she told me that she wanted whipped cream on top because, "it's the little things, right?" That dollop of whipped cream was one of her special little moments, a tiny thing that brought a bit of bliss.

Then I recall other customers who, after taking their drinks, stalk back to the counter, bristling with rage, because I dared to forget the whipped cream on their beverage. A little thing, so easily fixed in five seconds, becomes just another source of annoyance and exasperation to these people. With so much ill will and rage in their mind, more of those wonderful, little moments will slip through their fingers, until they can no longer be satisfied by anything.

It's often difficult for me to notice and savor the little things. I'm so caught up in the never ending rush of the world, being buffeted by the demands and desires of the many different people that I interact with. But I'm slowly teaching myself to step back and truly experience life. I close my eyes as I sip my coffee, shutting down a sense so that I can truly relish the taste. I no longer listen to my iPod when I go for walks in the woods so that I can hear the birdsong, the wind whispering through the trees, and the crunch of leaves underfoot. And most importantly, when a little thing doesn't pan out the way I'd prefer, I take a deep breath and move on. That moment has already passed and I have a million more moments to live.

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