It’s the small thrills that remind us who we are.
Those mundane, quiet, undramatic everyday experiences that are gently woven into our days, these are the moments we remember forever. These are the joys that create the inner smile of peace and rebalance us above the precipice of meaninglessness.
Without them, we’re just piles of dust and bone.
Consider this hilariously pathetic article from the world’s best satire magazine about the man who brings lunch from home to cut down on small joys:
Speaking with reporters while opening ziploc baggies of pretzel twists and baby carrots, local man said that making your own lunch each day is a great way to reduce your simple pleasures throughout the week. It’s already made a huge difference for me, said the middle aged insurance underwriter said as he unwrapped a plain turkey sandwich from aluminum foil that he had woken up fifteen minutes early this morning to prepare. He used to go out for lunch with coworkers and actually enjoy himself every day, but now he just sits at my desk and eats something he packed from home. It’s quick, easy, and has cut his weekly sense of gratification by at least half. The man went on to say that he is considering canceling his cable service as well, which would save him ninety hours of genuine relaxation time a month.
This article invites several existential questions.
What small joys do you regret eliminating from your life?
What treat, that will not only reward you but also improve you, are you ashamed of acquiring?
What pleasures and delights are you still not allowing yourself to have?
What compulsive restrictions are leaving you twenty percent healthier but fifty percent unhappier?
What affordable luxury that would give you five minutes of happiness are you too proud and too frugal and too guilty pursue?
In other words, when did you decide that you didn’t deserve to feel good?
Listen. Listen loudly. At any point during any day, we can pause and remember that we have a place to come home to. It’s a small price to pay for health and sanity.
But these moments are so small and soft and subtle, they’re easy to miss. And forget about. And get lazy with. And take for granted. And sadly, we can never go back to claim the joy we missed yesterday.
And so, the goal is not only to see the big picture, but also to notice, experience, enjoy, share and give thanks for the little ones.
That’s the irony. If we’re not able to do these small things for ourselves, and if we’re not allowing enthusiasm for life’s smaller offerings, then we’re actually missing the picture entirely.
LET ME ASK YA THIS…
Do you have a handy list of existentially nourishing activities and tasks that are guaranteed to provide you with the experience of meaning and joy?
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That Guy with the Nametag
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