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Life is in the Little Things…

LynnLookingatAmelWebI’m a relatively happy and contented person. I somehow find myself noticing people around me who are varying degrees of unhappy.

I wonder if we expect that “perfect” exists or can be sustained. I wonder if they can’t see the good little things in between the challenges (which all humans encounter).

Now, sometimes a loved one is ill or has passed away. Sometimes income decreases or leaves us for a while. Sometimes there is truly a horrible work situation.

I have experienced all of these. There truly are big things which would make any  human unhappy.

But sometimes we are unhappy because of small things. And sometimes we are unhappy because we wait for BIG DEALS. We don’t even notice the lovely little stuff that surrounds us.

We may also believe that happy equals manic or ecstatic. Perhaps instead, sometimes happy actually can equal quiet contentedness or serenity.

Some examples from my own life:

  • Brian and I went to the grocery. We found red bell peppers at a really good price, in January. A lovely little thing. Brian made a great veggie stir fry. Fresh veggies in January. A lovely little thing unavailable to my grandparents on the farm in Minnesota not that long ago…
  • We sang for folks at a retirement home. Some of the residents knew our songs. They smiled and sang along. A lovely little thing. Some of the staff danced across the room. They smiled during their workday and we helped that happen. Another lovely little thing.
  • We had an hour drive to the retirement home. We could have been miserable about a two-hour round trip. Instead we enjoyed the rare sunshine. We  noticed the pale blue sky with pretty though standard-looking clouds. We looked at the lovely little things and did not fuss over the commute.
  • I have been drowning in too many clothes here, stacking them wherever I can find a spot. I have a friend who works at a homeless day shelter. I’ve started a routine of finding 5 or more things to give away/toss every day. Warm clothes go to the shelter. Worn out items go in the trash. No-longer-used kitchen items and summer clothes go to a charity resale shop. And now when go to my closet, one of the three racks is no longer crammed and wrinkling my good clothes. A lovely little thing.
  • I have many allergies/sensitivities to foods. Most packaged foods do not work for me. I found one pricey sort of soda pop (Virgil’s cream soda) without any ingredients that bother me. I can take that as a treat when I go to gatherings. I could focus on the hassle of making most of my own food (sometimes I do, but I try to remember it is not chemo or dialysis). Instead, I notice the special treat I do get to enjoy at times. A lovely little thing.
  • Once I worked in an office which was driven by sales. The salespeople, for the most part, were fascinated by the possibility of a million-dollar sale. One guy found small businesses who appreciated his low-key manner.  He stayed in sales a long time, with a lot of bread-and-butter jobs, rather than a few biggies. Lovely little things.

If we expect that a new job, relationship, city, purchase, weight goal, whatever… will turn around our lives, if we are waiting for some elusive ship to come in, if we are looking for big things to make us happy, well, my friends… we will never get there. The ship may not come in as we picture it.

My ship has definitely come in. It’s in the form of no credit-card debt. It looks like a humble but adorable home in a medium-sized midwestern city. It’s painting the window & door trim on the house lavender. It looks like sitting in the living room with my beloved, not saying anything as we sit quietly surfing the internet.

My ship looks like a typical LynnH-week full of lunches with friends. My ship looks like a paid off 1998 blue New Beetle. My ship looks like children who call me Ms. Lynn and show me what they knit in the week since I last saw them.

citykidz033105lynnandkidzwithyarn

My ship looks like getting clothing at used clothing stores instead of worrying about how to buy that $200 dress (yes, I did that once, on credit at a time when paying it back was painfully difficult). My ship looks like a closet of wool & cashmere garments purchased for less than $10 apiece, used but not yet adored until I found them.

My ship includes a husband who lights up when I walk in the room, in spite of all my idiosyncrasies. My ship looks like good relationships with my family. My ship includes friends and coworkers and folks who hire me, who value my contribution and are happy to have me in their circle.

My ship looks like gratitude. My ship looks like seeing how I am becoming a more solidly-grounded person, an interesting person. It looks like understanding that my precious gray hair shows I’ve learned a few things.

blankie

My ship looks like a hammock on the porch in summer and a hot water bottle on my feet in winter. My ship looks like really good tea which is affordable to me, every day.  Tea which was not available to non-royalty for generations…

Do not think for a minute my life has always been this way. I have had far too many authentically sad and down days in my first 30 years on this planet. Much of that sadness could make any human weep.

I have done a lot of work with self-awareness and believing in the future, and that work and attitude is starting to pay off. Luckily, I’m 51 now and it just keeps getting better.

Look for a tiny ship which comes into your life several times a day. If you wait for a BIG DEAL it may never come.

If you notice the Lovely Little Things? You find many Lovely Little Ships, one after another. Today. No waiting required.

14 Responses to “Life is in the Little Things…”

  1. Susan Says:

    Beautifully said. I completely agree. You and I are the same age. Do you suppose contentment comes with middle age? I don’t think I was very contented when I was younger; maybe we need to experience the highs and the lows before we learn contentment.

  2. kristi Says:

    Beautiful post Lynnie. Thank you!

  3. Snowbird Says:

    I really liked your post. So aptly stated–just being content. You don’t ask a lot out of life. You keep life simple. You give to others. All of this makes you happy. I am smiling because it is a great formula for life.

  4. Lori Says:

    Thanks for reminding me to be happy with the little things. You are awesome!

  5. Mom Says:

    You are so right, Lynn. I am glad we have had a lot of those happy times together, too. Right now I am remembering the time Grandpa caught us on the way back to Michigan with the tea container we had left behind. Here he was going 100 mph on a country road tooting his horn at us to catch us. We were wondering who that nut was on the road behind us. It was three months away from the end of his life (cancer). We had a hoot remembering the thrill we gave Grandpa.

  6. Diana Troldahl Says:

    My most recent lovely little thing was seeing the photo of you wrapped in my knitting :-}
    Warmed me right down to my toes!

  7. Janet Says:

    Thanks for that post today Lynn. I teach 3rd grade and this is my most difficult class in 31 years. But, actually, there are 5 difficult students. The rest are really pretty great and that’s what I need to focus on. Your post today helps me to do that! Bless you.

  8. Kathy Burgess Says:

    Lynn, you summed it up so well. Thank you for your insightful views about life and living it to the fullest.

  9. Lindy Says:

    This calls for a deep and heart-felt thank you.

    Lindy (AZ)

  10. Trish Says:

    What a nice way to end my evening and go off to bed. I’m not reading another thing… I want your thoughts and sentiments to be the ones I carry with me off to sleep. Thanks for a beautiful post. I’m glad to have you in my life, even though we don’t see each other very often.

  11. AnneMarie Says:

    My thanks as well for your lovely post. Every experience makes us who we are. It is good for the soul to appreciate the lovely little things that we see and say and do.

  12. KnittySue Says:

    So well spoken. I just started blogging my gratitude for my daily blessings and you’ve said so much of what is my life and who I am. Thank You

  13. Michele Says:

    A little behind on my blog reading……this post should be required reading for all Americans.

  14. Brett Says:

    Lynn, just came by your site today, and saw this post… it made my smile!! Here’s something to make you smile – after all this time, I picked up knitting about a month ago. I’m on my third scarf (a great place for me to start), and I don’t think I can stop – it’s SO relaxing!

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