If you’re looking for a sad story where the cat dies and you learn the meaning of life…well, then you should probably go somewhere else. Because this is a story about the little things.
What are the things that truly make you smile? Maybe for you, it’s winning a medal, getting an A, receiving a gift. For me, it’s the moments, the feelings, the experience of untainted joy and pure laughter that really lift my spirit. In short, it’s the little things that have an enormous impact – and that’s what I believe in.
“Words are like bodies and meanings are like souls” – Ibn Ezra
“Life is painting a picture, not doing a sum.” – Oliver Wendell Holmes
These quotations are scrawled in black marker on the shell-patterned wallpaper in my bathroom. The same wallpaper that my parents had said someday would be replaced, along with new tile and a cabinet. The quotes are details – they add something special to the walls. It’s something you wouldn’t ordinarily notice unless you had searched the sea of rainbow ink on my bathroom walls. My dad wrote this quote, along with quite a few others – some serious, some whimsical. It’s so amazing that a sentence or two someone had said or wrote could stretch its fingers across the world and touch me.
Life has many small perks, or excitements which can brighten your whole entire day. For instance, reading a book and feeling the paper on the left side thicken, or the relaxing feeling you get when settling into bed after a long day. I think about the simplicity of sticking your hand out the window on the highway and experiencing the cool, silky air running through your fingers. I think of the moment of biting into a sandwich and discovering the perfect ratio of turkey to lettuce and tomato. I think about smelling the fresh, non-city air of the relaxing atmosphere of Maine, listening to my favorite singer while studying or when my dad brings home doughnuts from a bakery which he won’t tell me the name of. I think about the one time my dad placed a cardboard box over my eight month old kitten, and how we watched as the box scurried itself along the beige carpet, followed by endless laughter.
Don’t get me wrong – I also enjoy the large joys in life, such as making the softball team or traveling halfway around the world, experiencing different cultures and lifestyles. But you would be surprised how much life is drawn out of the little things. I believe that the little things mean a lot because they add up to something so much more special. Think of it as addition- 5+6=11. The 5 is the turkey, tomato, and lettuce sandwich, the 6 is the fresh pine smell of Maine, and the 11 is the end result, which is worth just as much as one large joy. I also believe that it’s these little things that become the unforgettable memories which you recall at the oddest times, or tell stories about to your grandchildren in several decades. In fact, I am frequently told about small things by my parents. And despite the miniscule size, they are able to act as a band-aid and cure any frustration I am dealing with.
So, one night in bed, when the world seems quiet and still, think about the things that really make you beam with joy. Sure, it still may be the family trip to Europe, but also think about the little things. Something that made you cry, smile, or laugh. For it’s these little moments and memories, which give our lives flavor.