Delight in the Little Things

Originally published as a TinyLetter

When I’m feeling down, life seems like a series of hassles. The bills to pay. The kids’ needs to tend to. The dishes to wash and house to clean (why won’t it just stay clean?!). My To-Do list is endless and overwhelming. It feels like the next day is going to be the same way, and the next day after that.

When I can step back and see things more clearly, however, I’m aware that for every hassle, there’s also a delightful moment.

Case in point: Before 8:30 a.m. today, I had already let the dog out, changed Avery’s diaper twice and gotten her dressed, asked Evan several times to stop putting his feet on his sister, prepped his backpack, made lunches, gotten myself ready, and dropped Avery off at school.

But there were plenty of delightful moments, as well: I was up before everyone else and had a half hour of quiet to myself, drinking coffee with sweet cream and collecting my thoughts. When Avery woke up, she came across a bendy cow figurine on the floor and squealed, “Cowww! Mooooo!” as she held it up for me to see. In the car on the way to drop her off, I listened to one of my favorite podcasts, Here to Make Friends, whose funny and brilliant feminist hosts were discussing the latest drama on Bachelor in Paradise.

I’m often so stuck in my own head, ruminating on the hassles and worries, that I don’t fully experience, or even notice, the delightful moments all around me. This morning I made the effort to quiet my mind so I could take in the chubbiness of Avery’s little dimpled hand as she sat next to me on the couch, and feel the soothing warmth of the water on my skin in the shower.

I’m being more intentional about creating these moments, too, and not just waiting for them to show up. I make a point to hug Evan tightly and tell him I love him before Darren takes him to school, even if we’re running super late and he’s been a handful that morning. He’s been replying, unprompted, “Have a good day!” which always makes me smile. I’ve been putting Avery’s hair in pigtails more often, which takes just a minute and makes me want to squeeze her because she looks so darn cute. My version of “Stop and smell the roses” is “Pause to pet the dog before stepping over her to get where you’re going.”

At work, inspired by a Happiness Hack from the Happier in Hollywood podcast, I put up a white board in the kitchen to share a quote of the day. A bit of wisdom about happy living and productivity boost my mood and, I hope, everyone else’s.

The business of living involves a lot of hassles, yes, but it’s full of just as many delightful moments — or even more, if we’re intentional about creating and appreciating them.


what’s fueling me

 

Darren knows what will crack me up, and he sent me this montage of Paul Rudd interviews with Conan O’Brien. I won’t spoil the joke, but it had me shaking and hyperventilating with tears streaming down my cheeks as I tried to contain my laughter in our quiet office.

I’ve been using the Momentum extension for Chrome, which is a pure joy: when you open a new tab, it displays a beautiful photo from somewhere in the world, with an inspirational quote. It asks, “What is your main focus for today?” and provides checkboxes for little tasks to get there.

My song of the summer is “Adventurers” by Holly Maher, a happy little ditty that I’ve been listening to on loop and playing on the guitar. (“Who’s got time for feeling sad when there’s so much fun to be had?” … like I always say.)

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