Lately, I’ve been trying to shift my mindset from trying to be “happy” to instead being grateful. It’s basically recognizing what I have, instead of what I don’t. When you look at it this way, you realize you have more than you thought.
But gratitude also comes in other forms, and for me, it’s the small moments that can go unnoticed in our busy work/school/parenting lives.
Just this morning, I had a routine appointment for bloodwork. Not the most fun thing, admittedly. But instead of hopping on the bus, I decided to walk, as the lab is only a mile or so away. In doing so, I saw lots of vibrant fall colours, cool storefronts I’ve never noticed, not to mention interesting people. I would not have been able to appreciate these things if I didn’t slow down a bit, and remove the facade of routine.
In short, there are moments every day that truly make our suffering worthwhile. And I’m assuming you’re suffering, even in a small way, if you clicked on this article. But the truth is life is difficult for everyone, even for those who seem to have it all figured out.
Sometimes it can be tough to see the point of trying when there’s no “reward.” However, the rewards are plentiful and right in front of us, if we care to notice them.
So, in no particular order, here are some relatively small but meaningful things/moments that I’m grateful for that keep me going (other than a family that cares about me, of course. And I’m grateful for that.)
1. When a neighbourhood cat jumps into your lap on the porch and lets you pet it a few times before moving on.
2. When you remember you have Indian food leftovers for lunch, which is often as good or even better reheated.
3. A random stranger that smiles at you while passing by them.
4. A mostly empty train or bus during your commute.
5. A song you love that comes on the radio without being requested.
6. A dog that can’t wait to greet you when you get home.
7. Taking a wrong turn and finding a beautiful neighbourhood/park you didn’t know existed.
8. The first sip of your favourite cold beverage after a long week.
9. Being offered a ride somewhere by a friend that happens to be driving past you.
10. People-watching, whether you’re in a small town or a big city.
11. Someone in public complimenting your fashion choices.
12. Climbing into bed for a nap mid-day, because you can (and you want to.)
13. Finding a forgotten album of photos full of friends and family that may no longer be around.
14. Hearing live music in a small, uncrowded venue.
15. Spending a few hours wandering in a quiet gallery/museum, appreciating each piece.
16. Having your child take your hand without prompting on the walk to school.
17. Helping out a neighbour (or vice versa) without either expecting anything in return.
18. Re-watching a favourite television series from the beginning (bonus if your partner is on board.)
19. Discovering you have a hidden talent or interest.
20. Having a little time to enjoy your hobby, whether it’s street photography, sewing, or sorting your vintage coins.
21. Seeing a grand old home and imagining who lived there a century ago.
22. Preparing a nice meal and having someone you love enjoying it.
23. Getting a comment on social media from someone you hold in high regard.
24. A walk after dinner during golden hour.
25. Your favourite corner table at your favourite restaurant is available.
26. An unobstructed view of a rainbow.
27. The smell of coffee when you open a new bag.
28. Enjoying a cup of coffee in silence before anyone else is up.
29. Unexpected public art.
30. Getting lost in a novel.
31. A cool breeze through the window when you’re lying in bed.
32. The warmth of a dog sleeping at your feet.
33. Finding a $10 bill in your fall jacket.
34. A smiley face from the server on your food bill.
35. Seeing an old couple walking together and holding hands like they’re teenagers.
36. Scoring a cool item/article of clothing for cheap at a vintage store.
37. Listening to the rain.
38. The sizzling sound of bacon when you drop it in the pan.
39. The first blossoms of the season in your garden.
40. Being dismissed from school/work early on a Friday.
41. Having someone genuinely laugh at your joke.
42. Getting a handwritten letter or postcard in the mail.
43. Having someone you like send you a playlist they think you’d like.
44. Nailing a group photo of friends on the first try.
45. Free garlic bread with your order.
46. Watching the waves roll in on an empty beach.
47. Seeing beautiful poetry written in an unlikely place.
48. Leaves beginning to change colour in fall.
49. Your car starting on the first try on a very cold morning.
50. Getting a little love on Medium.
Did I miss anything? What seemingly insignificant things in your life keep you going?
This post was previously published on medium.com.
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Photo credit: Johannes Plenio on Unsplash