We all know about the big things. Those are the things that we usually pay the most attention to. The things we think about, plan for, and hang our hopes on. As opposed to the little things in life, the big things cost the most, take the longest to accomplish, and force us into tunnel vision. But in the end… they matter the least.
I’m tired of the big things. They can be too clunky, too disappointing and too painful. I’m tired of them because they have taken so much of my time and attention, that often they blocked my joy in the little things. I’m not saying that the big things are useless or unimportant. Just that we have to make room for the little happy things that exist everywhere, if we but just learn to notice them.
Last year, we moved away from the house were my son grew up. Before we left, we decided to throw him and his friends a big going away party. We wanted to make it a memorable experience for him so we spared no expense. We had a pool party, with lots of entertainment, snacks, activities and gifts.
Everyone had a wonderful time, with the exception of mixed-in elements of sadness for his departure. Later that night, after everyone had finally said their goodbyes, I went to find my son to ask him how he liked the party. I found him standing next to a whiteboard.
On the whiteboard before they left, each of his friends wrote him a short note, with good wishes for the future. They knew that it may be the last time they would see one another. I got choked up as I read some of the touching messages these kids wrote. Look dad – he said, my friends love me so much!
I didn’t have to ask him what he liked most about the party. I already knew what he will remember about that day. All the expensive, big things didn’t matter anymore. In the end, after everything is said and done, the big things will be forgotten. They simply can’t compete with the little things that touch the heart and soul.
My advice for the big things is yeah, they have their place, and we have to do them. But not at the cost of the little things. I don’t want to miss the little things again. I will try to walk when I can drive, stand still when I can walk and kneel when I can stand. Life is too precious to be spent in a state of constant motion. Too short to miss the subtle elements surrounding us.
Without the conscious effort to slow down, your life will only increase its speed. If you need help slowing down, meditation is a powerful tool. Even if you don’t experience its deeper calming and spiritual effects right away, at least you’ve spend a few minutes just sitting around, while doing nothing at all.
Don’t put it off! Do you have an inkling to do something right this moment? No one is holding you back, but yourself. If you hesitate now, the moment will just pass and never come back again… Make time to enjoy the little things in life. Why wait? There is nothing to lose, get brave and just go for it.
It takes guts to be silly. But it’s so satisfying! Practice by doing tiny, silly, fun things that are just outside your comfort zone. In time, you can graduate to bigger silly things that will bring you lots of joy, satisfaction and memories. Don’t be afraid to show others your playful side.
Some of us (present company included) have worn blinders for far too long. We’ve been chasing that carrot, ignoring the potentially awesome little things that make up our lives and memories. Look back at your life, what were the happiest moments in your life? What memories bring a smile to your face? Here is to the little things, that are actually the big things!
Live well. Vlad