This afternoon I had a thought. It was a thought that many people have probably had before, but maybe never really dug too deeply into. This thought arose as I left a Starbucks with my green tea latte in hand, and I remembered when I had gone to the Starbucks in the library at my university a few months back. I was tired and worn out, but still determined to keep working away at an essay about women’s studies or some social work issue. As I joined the line up of other students who were getting their caffeine fix, I stood in auto pilot, just waiting for the next available barista. I ordered my usual: hot chocolate with whip, and spelled out my name so no one else could accidentally take my drink. When I got my cup I saw my name, along with a little smiley face. My heart warmed like a summer day and I couldn’t help but feel happy that someone took the time to draw a little smiley face on my cup. I believe that it was the smiley face got me through that day of essay writing even more than the hot chocolate.
So what the hell was the point of this story? I think it really is the little things in life that make a difference. It is so easy to be blind to it, and just see the overall big picture. Even when things feel like shit is hitting the fan, I try to look at my life and try to see at least a few great things that happened that day. It could be as simple as I didn’t miss my bus even though I was running late. Everyone knows how much it sucks to miss the bus! You’re standing there cursing at the bus stop, shaking your fist at the bus and how dare it be on time when you were running late! It’s usually raining and you have to text your friend to say you’ll be running late. In that moment, it is so easy to see all the crap that’s going on, and forget about the tiny things that make life amazing.
It is also so common to seek out this idea of happiness. It seems as though happiness is a beacon of light, that one day we will find. Once we get our dream job, find the perfect partner, and finally pay off all our debts we will be happy. Happiness seems to be this concept that seems to be hard to pin down. It really isn’t that hard though! Just look at the little things in life and you will realize that you have so much more going for you than you think. In my case, I know I have a chronic condition and I will most likely be on medication for the rest of my life. That is most likely my reality. Yet, there are things to be thankful for, despite my situation. I have parents who are working so hard to help me become more healthy, as well as friends who are caring and concerned. They are also just awesome people in general! I feel so blessed to have those positive connections, as so many people in the world live in isolation with no friends or family to support them. In no way am I saying that it’s easy to be accepting of chronic conditions (or any medical condition, for that matter). Acceptance of a medical condition can be difficult, and if you dwell deep enough into it, you may feel angry or that you were robbed of a ‘normal’ life. Recently I have found that surrendering to the uncertainty of my condition has been deeply liberating. I don’t mean I’m throwing my hands in the air and giving up. I just mean that I am working on living day to day, and seeing the positive things that do happen on a daily basis. For the record, I have not fully accepted my condition; some days I feel angry because I have to wait to start my career that I have worked so hard for. I am still working hard though! I reminded of this by my boyfriend and parents, which is highly validating. There is nothing better than feeling like you are doing something that can improve your situation.
So ultimately, what’s my take away message? See the teeny tiny triumphs in your day. Recognize small things that make you happy, whether having the time to watch your favourite tv show, or that you were able to talk with your best friend who you haven’t seen in ages. The little things in life are there- you just have to look for them.