The Little Things in Life

Paul - Syracuse, New York
Entered on September 1, 2008
Age Group: 18 - 30

It’s funny how people can completely change my perspective on life and cause me to look at everything differently. Several situations have caused me to take a step back and realize that I focus too much on big events and too little on the smaller scale occurrences. I believe it’s important to recognize the little things in life that make life so great.

When I first became a Special Olympics basketball coach five years ago, my goal was to guide the team to win games and receive medals. But seeing an athlete shout for joy after sinking a free throw or pump their fist after grabbing a rebound changed my perspective. Coaching became much more enjoyable because I focused less on the big picture and more on the small successes along the way. I now know that big wins are nice, but it’s also important to celebrate the individual baskets, rebounds and good plays. Life works the same way. Strive to achieve a big goal, but be sure to celebrate and enjoy the small successes along the way. I believe it’s important to recognize the little things like scoring a point and good teamwork that make life so great.

I traveled to New Orleans a year ago to help out after Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf Coast. I was with a large group of about 20 people and we worked on a 100-year-old rickety house with severe water damage. The highlight of my trip wasn’t the construction work or day trip to the French Quarter, but rather the lunches that the home owner, Rose, prepared for us each afternoon. She invited our entire group into her very modest kitchen where we ate delicious food that must have taken a lot of time and money to cook. I didn’t think such a small deed could make me feel so good. Her simple act of kindness was much appreciated and more than made up for any inconveniences I enjoyed along the way. I believe it’s the little things like a home cooked meal and hospitality that make life so great.

It’s good to have long term goals and big occasions, but I will be happier if I look at things on a smaller scale as well. I believe it’s the little things in life that make life so great.