The other day I sat in the window seat of an airplane, my forehead pressed against the glass, and I watched the houses and fields and miniature cars drift by, lost in thought.
I was thinking about the patterns of life, how we settle into who we are and what we’re supposed to be doing, how we find our place, our work, our day-to-day obligations and live them out, with purpose and intention, but often methodically.
We’re living, doing, existing. Often routinely.
As I sat in that window seat, I thought about my life, about the things I had accomplished and the things I still wanted, mixed somewhere in-between the obligations, the schedules, the things I needed to do.
And I decided to promise myself one thing: That I won’t let life get in the way of the little things.
I have always placed value on the little things—taking a moment to sit down with someone and drink a glass of wine, spending an afternoon writing, cooking a homemade meal, talking with someone about their day, staying in for the night and watching a movie, telling someone I love them, just because.
Some of my most special memories are little things—a note my father wrote me on my high school graduation, a sushi date in the parking lot of a movie theater with a boy I loved, an afternoon cooking with my mother, dancing to music in the car with my sister, laying in the backyard and talking to my best friend about life—simple, almost insignificant moments that I will carry with me forever.
Beautiful little things that I’ll always have tucked away in my heart.
Sometimes we get so caught up in the things we’re supposed to do, in the places we’re supposed to be, even in the words we’re supposed to say that we forget the little things.
We forget to call our dying grandparents, we forget to thank our mothers, we forget to kiss the cheeks of our lovers and simply say, “You matter to me.”
We forget to stop and watch the sunset, or the flowers blooming in the little pots by the sink, or listen to the way the birds chirp, welcoming spring.
We forget to take time for ourselves, to go on that mini vacation we’ve always dreamed about, to put together the little craft we’ve always wanted to make, or to write the poem we’ve had in the back of our minds for weeks.
We forget to be humble, to take deep breaths, to just sit and revel in all that we’ve been blessed with, in all that we’re surrounded by.
And I don’t want my life to lose that.
I don’t want a life that’s so filled with to-do lists that I forget to take a minute to appreciate all that I’ve been given.
I don’t want a life that’s so routine that I forget all about the beautiful, little things that exist outside of those scheduled moments.
So I won’t. I promise.
I won’t let life get in the way of the little things, of the tiny celebrations, the moments of quiet, the moments of laughter, the moments of simple, ‘I love yous’.
Because life is meant to be more than a means to an end, more than items on a list we check off and call ourselves accomplished. More than following rules, and more than simply going through the motions.
Life is existing, yes. And it’s doing what we’re supposed to, yes. But life is also enjoying, is noticing, is appreciating, is pressing the pause button. Is taking in the little things. And never losing sight of them.