This I Believe

Samuel - Santa Monica, California
Entered on June 21, 2007
Age Group: Under 18
Themes: carpe diem

I believe in the simple things – the things we take for granted every day. I speak not of the unknowable, but rather of the generally unnoticed.

Each of us quests for some sort of greater meaning, some sort of “happiness” that we think will make our lives worth living. What is happiness, anyways? We chase it, always coming up short.

In pursuit, we overlook the profound beauty of the minutiae that makes up our surroundings. These are details, moments. They appeal to our senses, emotions. These things are marked by the nuances we are enveloped in. Light reflected in windy patterns on stucco walls, a girl’s hair swirls in the breeze. Branches tremble. These are the things that we fail to notice amidst the hustle bustle of the rat races that are our daily lives. We concern ourselves with job promotions, vying for hearts, getting into college. These are the things that are truly mundane. Conversely, the things that seem invaluable—these little things—are the ones that really count.

When was the last time we stopped, breathed, took it all in? It can always be done. Right now, typing, I can find something wonderful and meaningful in every facet of the room in which I am sitting. Dust laden beams of sunshine creep through blinds. A long row of vibrant 12” vinyl lines the cluttered shelf. Books rest, withered, yellowed. A dresser drawer extended an inch farther than the others, a shirt collar seeping out of the top. Outside, the birds sing; the grasses sway; the lush green trees stand against frozen blue skies. And here I sit, plugging away at a desktop keyboard, while everything exists in its place, in its moment. It’s all around us.

I believe that in the search for happiness, we lose sight of these things that make the whole trip worth it. Only by taking a moment, by taking it all in, do I feel like the parts of these moments add up to a resounding whole. We constantly underestimate the immense power of simplicity and being appreciative of these things that otherwise go unnoticed.