- Mental Health
The Little Things That Make Life Worth Living
Life sucks. A lot. And it's unfair too. Maybe you were born rich; maybe you had to scrape by just to live. Maybe you went to college; maybe you dropped out of high school. Maybe you fell in love and married your soulmate; maybe you'll die bitter and alone. And maybe you'll live to see the next century; or maybe you'll die tomorrow. Your life and your choices are mostly chance--so are everybody else's.
Maybe you're happy right now, maybe you're consumed with doubt, anxiety and depression. I know which one I am and which one I usually am--and that's why I am writing this article. In the classic Simpsons episode, 'You Only Move Twice', Homer is having trouble and confides in his new boss that: "[It's] nothing big. It's just a lot of little things" to which his boss sagely responds: "Well, you can't argue with the little things. It's the little things that make up life."
And he's right. Your typical day lasts 24 hours, or 1440 minutes, and of those minutes most of it is taken up with the little everyday things that we have to deal with. In a year maybe someone will die, you'll lose your job, or you'll break up with someone. But in a day a hundred different things happen that have no bearing on your future whatsoever and yet will shape how you feel about getting up the next day a lot more than anything else that's going on in your life.
And that's what this article is about! This article is concerned with taking the time to focus on all the little things in a standard day that you can do to make yourself smile and to make life a little less tedious or depressing.
The Little Things
Thinking about that one girl you have a crush on, and about how she's smiling while thinking about you.
A smile from a stranger that sticks with you all day.
The 'cracking' sound of a perfect high-five as your hand stings.
The smell of an old book and the caressing of its yellowed pages.
Getting a new credit card just so you can peel that sticky glue off the back of it.
The last page of a novel, knowing your journey's about to end.
The first time you snuggle under freshly cleaned sheets at bedtime.
Every single time you see the name of that special someone.
Having someone text you first and knowing they were thinking of you.
That first time near the end of October when you are able to see your breath against the cold.
When you wake up before your alarm and actually feel refreshed!
Tiny beads of sweat dripping down your forehead at night and turning your pillow over to savor the coldness of it.
Popping all the little bubbles in a soda lid.
The sound and the feel of that first scissor-cut in a piece of construction paper.
The first knife-cut into an unopened jar of peanut butter.
Peeling off that sticky plastic covering that comes with cell phones and other electronics.
That satisfying feeling of crossing off the final item on your to-do list.
Remembering a joke you heard a couple days ago, and just laughing out loud out of nowhere because of it.
Watching the milk cloud up in your tea just after you pour it.
Meeting and connecting on a personal level with a stranger and feeling less alone.
What I Learned
While compiling together this list of things that I personally feel make life worth living, it really got me thinking. All my life I've thought of all the reasons I'd want to die, but never really had taken the time to think of what I'd miss when I was gone. It's really easy when you're depressed to overlook all the little things that really make life worthwhile. But what I found out in making this list is that there are actually a whole lot of these little things! It's definitely hard to be happy when the 'big things' get in the way--I know this firsthand. But hopefully the little things will help you get through these tougher times until you can finally be happy in the big things.
And even if you never are--there sure are a lot of little things to be happy about anyhow. I encourage you right now to write out a list of the little things in your day-to-day life that make you smile. They don't have to be big--and really, they shouldn't be. Just jot them down and keep the list somewhere safe so that when you do begin to feel depressed you can look over them and take comfort in your own little things!