Delight in the Simple Things
by Faith Kurtyka (notes) Saturday, June 30, 2007 at 11:29am
Today’s post is derived from a line in the song “Simple Things” by The Renaissance Men. Recently, I’ve decided that true happiness in life comes from finding and appreciating small things. I mentioned to Kristin that this was one of the reasons that she was fun to be around: she finds really small things to get really happy about, like say, chicken pesto. I brought up this idea to my parents on vacation too, noting that my mom gets really excited when there’s a mini coffee pot in her hotel room.
This is not to say that large things – family, friends, weather – shouldn’t excite us, but that small things are more reliable, more consistent, and easier to control. What inevitably happens, though, is that although we don’t always take time to be conscious of our simple things. We just kind of passively enjoy them when they occur. I think that we can say that we definitively know someone when we know their simple things. If you had only $5 to buy something, or an hour or two to spend with someone you loved, do you know what you would buy or do to make them happy?
Some rules for defining simple things:
1. It’s got to be something that’s accessible; something you could make happen almost every day. So it can’t be like Christmas dinner, or that one great night out with all your friends. You can’t be happy only about things that happened in the past.
2. It’s got to be inexpensive (relatively speaking) and not especially time-consuming.
3. It can be a small physical object, or it can be a feeling or an experience, but it must be easily replicated.
4. It should be pretty unique to you. It can’t be something that makes everyone happy (finding your simple things should be a process of self-discovery). It can’t be lame, like “a child’s smile.”
5. These things must give you genuine delight. It doesn’t have to last a whole day, but there should be at least a moment when you are really pleased.
I’m going to try to be conscious of these things over the next few days to see what I come up with. Here are some that I thought of for other people.
LaRue: Petting squirrels, People’s ancestry
JR: Telling stories, doing impressions (or a combination of both)
Emily: Chatting in the EGSA lounge
Jennifer: Feeding people, Coordinating hanging out with food
Kristin: Mochas, babies
Laura: Reminiscing about childhood, bad movies, jalapenos
Personal/Musical: Simple Things
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