With the spring weather, spring fashion and wedding season finally (re)introducing itself after hibernating all winter, I’ve been reminded of the little things in life that I failed to appreciate all winter long.
Maybe it’s part spring fever; happy people recognize the good in the ordinarily mundane moments of life, but I couldn’t help but notice a few things that have recently made me smile–things that happen on a regular basis.
1. Your best friend’s name popping up on your phone.
Let’s be realistic, your best friend is someone who loves you no matter what stupid decisions you’ve made. Having that name show up every morning will always make you feel loved.
2. Mastering the perfectly golden crusted grilled cheese.
Our inner 7-year-old still craves a grilled cheese now and again. As an adult, the moment you make a grilled cheese that looks better than the ones your mom made is worth celebrating with a Snapchat story. (Even if you burn the first 3.)
3. Eating alone.
I don’t care if you’re single, taken, complicated or married. Everyone should have some “me” time every once in awhile. Have a cup of coffee or a meal by yourself, without your phone. It’s amazing what you find out about your waiter/waitress, it’s fascinating what human interaction with a stranger can do for the soul. Disconnect from technology and appreciate the people and life you’re surrounded by.
4. Paying off your bills.
There’s something oddly satisfying about checking this off your to-do list each month. Maybe it’s because I’m new to this whole “adulting” thing, but let’s be real, feeling independent is one of the most empowering experiences we have.
5. Seeing the sun.
Or stars. Summer is approaching and the Vitamin D and bonfires are giving most people an extra pep to their step. With that being said, all of our summer softball leagues are starting again, get yourself some seeds and enjoy a couple hours of your night with your friends. If you don’t play, cheer. If you don’t cheer, watch. If you don’t watch, socialize. Quit making excuses and get some fresh air with your friends.
6. Waking up early to workout.
When that alarm goes off it’s one of the most antagonizing sounds you can possibly hear. Knowing you got your workout in and out of the way right off the bat is worth it at the end of the workday when you hear your colleagues complaining about having to go to the gym.
7. Doing something nice for someone else.
Pay for the person behind you in the next drive-thru you’re in, volunteer at your local humane society or mow your neighbor’s lawn. People who are less focused on providing materialistic items for themselves seem to have the most laughter, love and happiness surrounding them.
8. Going to a park.
I dare you to go sit on a swing, twirl around and around, twisting the chains until the sides of your swing feel like you may cut the circulation off in your hips and then let go, spinning freely. If you’re not smiling while your dizziness wears off you didn’t do it right, try again.
9. Quality Pet Time.
So many of us have furry family members that we feed, walk and play with everyday. How often do you lay on the floor with your pet after a long day? Weird. I know. But, just give it a try. Animals pick up on the feelings around them, and my guess is after 5-10 minutes of chill time, you’ll feel happy. (Warning: Cats may not be ok with the whole sitting on the floor, just chillin’ idea. My advice? Get a dog.)
10. Talking to an elderly person.
The stories and lessons you learn are beyond measurable. Appreciate the value in what your 82-year-old neighbor can teach you. She knows more about life, love, heartbreak and cooking than you can find on the Internet. Plus, she appreciates the simple fact that you care and want to listen to her playing “Somewhere Over the Rainbow,” on her piano over and over.
11. Hearing a child laugh.
No explanation needed. These sweet little giggles are usually contagious.
12. When the shower water isn’t too hot or too cold.
How often do we hop in the shower and shriek with terror because the water is too hot or too cold? Avoiding the shock and awe in the morning should be a good enough reason to know it’ll be a good day.
13. Having clean sheets.
It’s like crawling into cool, smooth clouds.
14. Childhood photographs.
Embarrassing or not, they’ll make you laugh in horror or smile with sweet memories.
15. Writing a letter.
We’re so caught up in technology today that we’ve forgotten the benefits of simplicity. Write your grandparents a letter–most of them will respond and they are letters you’ll get to keep forever. Yes, my grandma has Facebook too, but that doesn’t mean she isn’t the perfect pen pal. Most of the older generations have adapted to adhere to our expectation of how technology should run the world, can’t we give them some nostalgia and respect the way they were raised in return?
16. Driving with the windows down.
On the next nice day roll down all your windows, crank up your favorite tunes and enjoy. I’m sure some scientist somewhere has research to back up the positive effect this has on people.
17. Going to Church or simply reading the gospel.
Attending church and hearing a sermon that relates to your life to the point you think the preacher is speaking directly to you is nothing short of extraordinary. You reevaluate your situation; you see the good or the bad in yourself. You have a chance to learn from your mistakes or grow in your relationship with God.
We get so caught up in the hustle and bustle of our day-to-day lives we forget to appreciate the beautiful lessons life is teaching us on a daily basis. Maybe it’s patience. Maybe it’s kindness. Maybe it’s strength. Or maybe it’s simply learning to let go of the selfishness and the obsession to be in control of your life. “Let go and let God” because once you focus on the fact there is something greater and larger than you, you’ll find hope and happiness in the ordinarily mundane moments…the moments that are often highlighted in these two places.
Maybe someday, these ordinary moments or things will be what we’ll remember as extraordinary. Maybe someday, we’ll realize that less really is more.