If we’ve learned one thing from what’s happening, it’s that we take an awful lot for granted. I’m not just talking about the big things- like teachers or nurses. I’m talking everything from a good cup of coffee made by our favorite barista to the energetic buzz of excitement that rolls across a beach on a warm day. See, life is made up of millions of small moments that make it worth living. It’s sad that it took a pandemic to make us appreciate them.
Life is Made Up of Millions of Small Moments, So Enjoy Them
We humans have this habit of focusing on the big things and measuring our lives in milestones. Yay, we graduated high school! Hooray, we’re 21! Yippee, getting married! Woohoo, having a baby! Congrats on your new house. Way to go on that new job. Enjoy retirement. The end.
With one-third of humanity currently under lock down and likely remaining so for weeks to come, most of us aren’t able to celebrate those big milestones. Women are laboring alone to keep as many people out of the hospitals as possible. Buying that new house? It’ll have to wait, especially if you’re one of the millions who just lost their jobs. Birthday celebrations are put on hold or canceled entirely (my daughter was looking forward to her 5th birthday party next month, so I know how hard this one is). Weddings? Off the table. Retirement parties, too.
What are we left with, then, if we can’t properly celebrate all those monumental milestones? How about one of the millions of small moments that truly make our lives meaningful?
Celebrate the small moments that make life meaningful
How often do we really celebrate the small moments? Yay, we turned 6! Hooray, we got an 86 on that algebra final! Woohoo, that was an excellent piece of chocolate! Yippee, going on a 6th date! Congrats on your new kitchen faucet! Way to go on finishing the new Nora Roberts book! Enjoy that extra hour of sleep you’re getting tomorrow. And on and on (and on), because life has millions of them if you just know how to look.
While we’re on lock down, make the most of social isolation and use this time to teach your kids about finding joy in the little things. If you’re feeling completely overwhelmed and having a hard time finding joy right now, let me give you a hand.
Small moments that are begging you to appreciate them
It would be impossible to list out all those millions of small moments begging to be appreciated, but here are just 20 to get you started.
- A really good cup of coffee or tea on a brisk spring morning.
- The sound of birds tweeting in the trees.
- The silence that comes right before the sun rises.
- How the whole sky turns orange just before it sets.
- Finding that first spring bloom popping out of the soil in your garden.
- That accomplished feeling of finishing an entire book in one sitting.
- The rush of excitement you feel when your favorite TV show characters kiss for the first time.
- Learning that said favorite show is getting renewed for another season.
- The way your child’s entire hand curls around just one of your fingers.
- Your cat’s content purr as he snuggles on your lap.
- Finding a perfectly ripe avocado in your supermarket.
- Waving to a bus driver out delivering meals to kids in need.
- Painting your nails by yourself and NOT smudging the heck out of them.
- Hearing your child ask you to read her favorite book because you do the voices just right.
- Discovering that your kids love your favorite childhood cartoon, too!
- Finally figuring out how to set the clock ahead in your car.
- Learning that a 90-year-old woman survived a serious illness, even though you don’t know her.
- Finding out that your favorite grocery store actually has everything on your list.
- Seeing the joy on your child’s face when she finally beats you at Candyland (without cheating!).
- The scent of your children’s freshly cleaned hair as you bend over to kiss them goodnight.
Focus on what you DO have…
Maybe not all of these apply to your life. Maybe they do. The point is every single day is just brimming with itty bitty moments screaming out for you to recognize them. Millions of small moments. Every single day. So, rather than focusing on everything we’re missing right now- the parties, the graduations, the new houses, the weddings- let’s focus on what we DO have.
We have great books to read, shows to watch, games to play. Better yet, we have an excuse to read those books and watch those shows. We have time to learn how to make that perfect cup of coffee at home. We have laughter drifting in from the playroom while we make dinner. Most important of all, we have each other.
So, go ahead and grieve for that party you can’t have or that house you can’t buy, but balance it out with a smile. If you look for joy all around you, you will find it. Right now, there’s no better lesson to teach ourselves or our kids.