Too often in life we wait for “big” things to make us happy, such as a meeting our soul mate, having kids, getting our dream job, and so on. We tell ourselves, “When ________ happens, then I will be happy!” This is an insidious version of “the grass is always greener on the other side of the hill.” Unfortunately, this keeps us waiting for happiness with long gaps in between. So, the overall effect of this approach to life is that we are left less happy and less fulfilled.
It is undeniable that much of life consists of little things like going to the grocery store, jogging through our neighborhood, a morning cup of coffee, taking our kids to soccer practice, and watching a show with a friend or significant other. Then there are the many things that are woven into the fabric of our lives that we take for granted like clean running water, food, a roof over our heads, air conditioning, and hot showers. Rarely do we appreciate these things but, if we stop and think about it, what would life be like without them?
There is much research to show that learning to savor things in life, especially the small things, can enhance our overall happiness and well-being. Remember the saying that we need to learn to “stop and smell the roses” in life? Well, there is powerful truth about savoring in this statement. Usually we go from one activity to the next as if we are racing through life to get…where exactly? There’s no finish line in life. There is no reaching a pinnacle and then resting on our laurels. Life is a journey, and it is important that we learn to enjoy the scenery along the way.
So, if we can learn to slow down a bit and truly take in and appreciate these small aspects of life that surround us, we can reap the benefits. Enjoy the aroma of your cup of coffee, breathe the crisp fall air (when it finally blows in!), and enjoy those daily interactions with your children. For, as Carly Simon sang in “Anticipation,” these are the good old days.