Sitting, staring out the window at the crisp blue sky, the clouds glowing with sunlight, the Frankfurt skyline appearing in gray blue silhouette from afar, I see a wrought iron balcony just across the way. Said balcony is furnished with a tiny wooden table for two, white Chinese lanterns that bob like balloons hang from overhead, lit candles placed on the table add small orbs of light to the inviting scene. The entire thing is utterly charming, beckoning one to sit and enjoy a leisurely brunch or relax with a steaming mug and book in hand.
This is one of the "little things."
|Photo of a similar balcony ;-)|
So much of our lives are spent chasing after and anticipating what we deem to be lifes most important milestones. Or in other words, "the big things." These include experiences or achievements such as: getting married (finally, then I will be "secure," you might find yourself thinking. "Then it will all be figured out." Not so, but more on that here, as its a separate topic). Being promoted at work, going on vacation, buying a house, having your first child, "when I make my first million," etc. The list of "big ones" is fairly straight forward.
The majority of us live our lives chasing what we feel are these huge milestones. The ones that, upon having achieved or experienced, we are told will result in our lives finally feeling fulfilled. Yet, many find themselves confused and deflated wondering why, when they have finally obtained these things, their lives dont necesarrily feel any more satisfying or fulfilled. Many may find they are ashamed to admit having feelings of being left wanting. But I finally have it all, they wonder. So why dont I feel different?
Too much focus is placed on these "big things." The ones that our society tells us are measures of a life that includes success and, what they assure us will then inevitably follow, that elusive happiness. If that were the case, why is it that so many of those who have these "big things" arent jumping with joy?
Sure, some of them are. Dont get me wrong. There are people who are thrilled with their lives upon reaching the "big" markers that we have been told are the high points of our lives. People who are not only satisfied with reaching said "big ones" in the moment, but who revel in the joy of having achieved these milestones long afterwards as well. But for many, this isnt the case. Many, after feeling an initial rush, settle back into feeling the same way they felt before.
Because we assume that the "big ones" are the bricks with which the path to ultimate life happiness and fulfillment is lain. It isnt. This, like MANY aspects of the way society tells us life "should" be lived and experienced, is false.
Much of lifes joy is actually found in the smaller moments and things. Dont believe me? Just take a look. This list is an endless one, but to name a few of the "little things" in life that are truly superb:
--A certain look from someone to whom you are attracted
--Opening your email inbox to find a sweet message from a friend
--Receiving a heartfelt compliment
--Falling into a gripping, great read which has your turning page after page
--Having a particularly entertaining or poginant conversation with someone, in which you feel the two of you connected
--Buying flowers and putting them on your desk or dresser to enjoy
--Eating a delicious meal or savouring a yummy dessert
--Spending time with a favorite friend
--Curling up under a warm blanket
--Reading something particularly moving/powerful, or, (if you are a writer), writing something that comes out especially articulate and lyrical
--The glow and rush you feel after a kick-ass workout
--Recalling a favorite memory from your life (whether a travel adventure, a romantic moment, an exciting one, etc)
--Riding a rollercoaster
--The feeling of walking outside on a breezy, mild summer day. The sun shining, the air ruffling your hair, it feels faboulous and rejuvinating
--A brisk autumn day, colorful leaves rustling against the curb, your coat pulled tight, a hot drink in hand, the trees an explosion of fiery shades
--The flicker of candlight. Always flattering, always romantic.
--Game nights with friends
--Sliding in between fresh, clean bedsheets
--Being surprised (in a good way) by someone you like/care about
--Feeling loved/cared about by someone whom you also love/care about
I could go on
The point is, life is made up of hundreds of little moments which, when added together, are actually something huge and real.
The "big ones" that everyone is ever stiridng towards (marriage, the house, a promotion, the baby, the vacation), these are generally good things. Some of them even beautiful. But spending your entire life racing towards them with tunnel vision presents major risk of a life that can go largely unlived.
Living, truly living, means reveling in and noticing the little, special moments that we are offered each and every day. And there are usually several of these "little moments" sprinkled throughout each day. How awesome is that? So many opportunities to find joy, thrill and wonder with being alive.
Truly living and thus, feeling joy as a result, means noticing the way a friend spent time to write you a long email. It means putting aside the smart phone for an hour to actually delve into an awesome read, totally immersing and engaging yourself within. Really living life means holding on to the extraordinary people in your life, the ones you love deeply and whose company bring you joy. It means ignoring the traffic after work (since you cant change it) and singing along to the song on the radio, smiling and enjoying yourself. It means taking care of yourself (getting enough sleep, nourishing your body with things that are good for you, which ultimately make you feel great). Living life to the fullest means going on that adventure, even though it scares you. It means putting aside the petty grieviance and picking up the phone because you love them. It means looking around and reveling in the scent of flowers in the air, the sun on your face, stopping to enjoy the taste of something yummy as opposed to just shoveling it in your mouth. It means pausing to truly listen instead of always being the one to talk, or ever filling your mind with what your will say the moment its your turn.
It means, focusing more on the little things as opposed to the societally decided, supposedly ever important, "big ones." It means realizing that actually, the little things, of which there are handfuls of within each and every day, are the big ones.
|A smattering of my fabulous friends from back in the US <3|
|Snapped this in Switzerland :-D|
|Took this one back when living in Prague, Oct, 2013.|
|Christmas in the form of a pastry. How I LOVED these, my favorite Prague treat.|
|I took this photo, inside one of the most magical churches I have ever seen (Paris).|
|Snapped this photo at the top of Notre Dame.|
|Took this one of the Cinque Terre back in 2009.|