I’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 Â 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 orÂ 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 Â 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. Â 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.Â It’s painting the window & door trim on the house lavender.Â 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.
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).Â 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 myÂ 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.
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. Â 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.