“Enjoy the little things in life because one day you’ll look back and realize they were the big things.” ~ Kurt Vonnegut
2017. My grandma died. I got the flu and couldn’t walk properly for two months. I spent a good three months feeling paranoid I had breast cancer before finally getting checked out and discovering it was nothing. My partner and I argued. I yelled at my kids. I cried. I swore. I felt disappointed. I felt useless. I felt aimless. I felt insufficient. I felt like a failure.
It would be easy for me to throw last year on the scrap pile of years that sucked if I hadn’t done this one powerful thing: I spent a day going back through my journal, collating a list of highlights.
I rediscovered so many great things that had already started to fade towards forgotten: my travels far and wide, fun business projects, and special times with special people.
But the most wonderful things were the little things:
Handmade cards, road trips, horse-riding with Dad, jam-making with Mum, a last visit with Nana, coffee dates, swimming in the ocean, bike-riding, picnics, dinner at the local pizza joint, flowers, visits from old friends, foot massages, picking wild blackberries with my sis, thunderstorms, seeing the Pixies live, movies and mixed lollies, cuddles, sleeping in the back of the car on a deserted beach, playing guitar and jamming with friends, the night sky, forest walks, heart-to -hearts with my kids, heart-to-hearts with my partner, climbing mountains and drawing with my kids, Yoga, cold-ocean-swimming followed by campfire and hot porridge, watching the winter sun rise over the ocean with the kids and a cup of tea, botanical art classes, champagne in the spa, hot cross buns, camping, learning to play magic cards with the boys, Mum moving closer, being gifted an electric guitar, legs and arms that work, running water, kofta balls, love notes.
Are the little things enough?
I know friends who had years much more challenging and sucky than mine. Friends who went through life-threatening health issues and surgery. Friends who got divorced, lost money, lost jobs, lost loved ones. Friends who thought about ending it all.
So when life feels like that, isn’t being told to enjoy the little things a little irritating?
When I’m in the midst of extreme challenges, processing grief or simply sliding down the self-hatred spiral, and someone vomits an affirmation in my direction, I don’t find it uplifting or inspiring. It just makes me want to slap them.
Yes, there it is, annoyingly candy-coated, but…
… it is the little things that matter most, and yes, they are enough.
Buddhist nun Tenzin Palmo says the problem with life is that we believe there should be no problems. But did you ever hear of anyone ever with no problems?
Did you ever have a year that didn’t suck majorly some of the time?
The cold, hard, truth is, life is going to suck, this year is going to suck at times, today might suck. This year might be even worse than last year. Some really big, bad, challenging shit might be on its way.
But you can look that sucker in the face and say bring it on, ’cause I’ve got the little things and they are what really matter.
So if you haven’t already done so, take some time today to make a list of all the little things that made last year great.
And this year:
1. Keep a journal (you’ll be surprised how much you forgot)
2. Write love notes (to everyone and anyone)
3. Learn to love problems
4. And failing all else, eat kofta balls. They make everything okay.
Leonie Orton is a blogger who writes intimate stories about life. She is also a freelance copywriter and editor working with people and businesses that make the world a better place. She’s also a mother, flower-loving, get-her-hands-dirty-veggie-gardening, coffee-drinking, Yoga-teaching, sometimes swearing, adventurous and passionate woman of too many words. You can get in touch with her via her website and Facebook, or sign up at her weekly(ish) blog.
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