Wednesday, February 8, 2012

It's the Small Things...

Sometimes, when life gets a bit overwhelming and unpleasant, I have to try and focus on the good stuff.  You know, count your blessings and whatnot.  Of course, I am very blessed, even in my trials.
Things could be worse, right?
Although, sometimes, I am reminded of that cliche when a child doesn't want to eat his/her dinner and the mother says, "Eat it, there are children starving in Africa."  That never made sense to me.  Ok, mail them my dinner.  I don't need it.
Obviously, the point was to be grateful for what I had.  To be sure, my mom never used this one on us.  I don't think it ever made sense to her either.
My friend, Jim Bennett, son of (hang on while I name drop for a second) former Senator Bob Bennett, posted something rather wise on Facebook yesterday, which is what made me think of this whole post.
Here it is. 
 I find the relativity of suckiness to be irrelevant. It is suckiness itself, any of it, which concerns me. I personally want less of it. Recognizing that my suckiness levels are ten times, fifty times, or a thousand times lower than someone else's reduces my own suckiness not a whit. However, it does produce guilt, as in "how dare you complain about your suckiness when Floyd's life is six times suckier." So there's that, I guess, but since guilt is sucky, that reinforces my central point.
He is wise, is Jim.  I hope he doesn't mind me quoting him.  I should probably ask.  Oh, well.  Maybe tomorrow.
Anyway, I think he is right.  We all have our own trials, right?  And they all suck for us, right?  I mean, I know that what doesn't kill me, makes me stronger but sometimes it feels more like What doesn't kill me will invariably come back and try again until it eventually succeeds.
So, rather than focusing on the fact that it could be worse, because it could indeed, I am trying to focus on the things that are good in their own right. 
No question that I am lacking gratitude sometimes.  I should be overwhelmingly grateful that we have a home, a car that runs (knock on wood), etc. etc.  But those things don't always cheer me up, because the reverse is so damn depressing.
So, instead, I like to focus on the small things that make me happy, bring a smile to my face.
Here are a few them-
-Jim Dale reading audiobooks.  Awesome.  Listening to Harry Potter for about the 30th time.  Never gets old.  And, if The Small One and The Man of the House are being noisy (fighting, usually), I still  know what is going on at any given time, because I pretty much have the books memorized.
Wanna know what one of my most favourite parts is?  Of course you do! 
Book 4, Goblet of Fire.  Ron and Harry in McGonagall's class having a sword fight with 2 of the twins fake wands.  Ron's has turned into a tin parrot, Harry's into a rubber haddock.   At the moment McGonagall yells at them to pay attention there is a pause and then the head of Harry's rubber haddock slides silently to the floor, having been severed by the parrot's beak a moment before. 
I die.  Every time.  Laugh out loud funny.  It is such a classic jr. high moment. 
-Norm Abrams voice/This Old House/New Yankee Workshop.  Why?  I don't know.  It is so classically lazy Saturday morning to me, I think.  It means TMOTH is in a chill mood.  It usually means the house is tidy.  And there are beautiful things being made/done that I can ask TMOTH to make/do for me.  Good stuff.
-When The Small One is driven to giggles.  The real ones, not the silly, fake 4 year old hamming for attention giggles.  Her nose squinches up, her eyes get tight and all her teeth show.  She looks and sounds so utterly delighted that I can't help but laugh with her.  It is adorable.
-TMOTH and The Small One laying on the floor, eating popcorn and watching movies.  It is hilarious.  They talk to each other like contemporaries. 
-Dewberry shower gel and lotion from The Body Shop.  This scent is what my flat in London smelled like.  11 years later and that smell still conjures London for me.  If you combine that smell with cigarette smoke and car exhaust, well, it sounds disgusting, but that is what a Kensington street smells like to me.  And it is a VERY happy smell.
-Knitting.  What else is there to say?
-The way the chickens shout for attention when you go out in the back.  Or follow you around if you they are loose.  It is hilarious.  They love people.  And treats.
-Hot baths in my gorgeous claw foot tub.  My mom rescued it for me when an old house in Salt Lake was being renovated.  It is huge.  And deep.  With a slanty back. 
-And lastly, for tonight.  The fact that my friend's 4 year old is in love with TMOTH.  For 2 reasons.  He has a fire truck, and he can fix ANYTHING.  Dreamy, apparently.

In other news, I have decided to put The Small One in a French Immersion program for school.  This means that I will have to drive about 30-35 minutes twice a day once she starts school, but from what I hear, it is worth it.  Should prepare her well for our trip to the UK and France in a couple of years.  It has been a hard decision.  Who knew choosing a kindergarten could be so angst ridden?


Anonymous said...

if its a cold day i marvel at the blue sky. i`ve always stuck by " dont sweat the big stuff",, its the small stuff thats beautiful.
nice post ( i mean that in a good way ).

Linda Sappington said...

Living in Guyana has made me so incredibly grateful for my family, my home and (surprise, surprise) my government! Thanks for reminding me - in what is shaping up to be a killer missionary work day - of how TRULY blessed I am to have been given this opportunity, to have a family I adore (including you, The Small One . . . and no surprise here, TMOTH). Good stuff!

Janelle Southern said...

Fabulously put!!! I am very consciously aware that when it comes to my hubbs, sometimes I have a hard time letting his "sucky" be as significant as my "sucky". Honestly it is something I have been working VERY hard to focus on. It's just really hard to feel bad for someone who has a bit of a headache one day and wants to lie down when I've been in a full flare and have put every effort into being productive. I KNOW it doesn't make his headache hurt any less and I KNOW that a headache sucks. I also KNOW that I lose perspective really fast... but I'm trying. In fact, in a few minutes we're taking him to have a colonoscopy. Sucky indeed. I worked SO hard to be kind and compassionate yesterday when he was doing the prep. I've been through it several times myself and it is as close to living hell as possible. HE got the easy one though! The worst part for him is that he had to drink a lot of fine-tasting beverage, then had to poo a lot. The doctors refuse to let me use that kind because it wouldn't work on my body. I literally was praying yesterday for kindness and understanding that it is hard for him even though it wasn't the worst possible thing. For some reason it's easier for me to feel sympathy for people's suckiness when they're further for me, but I become very judgemental of my poor husband.
Sorry, I got really long winded... this is just something I"ve been pondering and working on for several months now. I don't wanna be the b*(&^% wife who compares every pain and says "you think that's bad?! well *I*....". But dang, sometimes it's hard!!! I do love to think of all the little things that make me happy though. I love your list!

lillysmum said...

Thanks for the comment! I know exactly what you mean. I am the same way, it is easier for me to be empathetic for people who are a little further away. I am working on the same thing you are. ;)

lillysmum said...

And I love it when people comment! Thanks, Linda, you comment every time!

Kaytee Postma said...

I did a post like this a few years ago and now I'm thinking I need to update it for my present surroundings. Thanks for the thoughts!

lala said...

Yes , yes. I hear you. The thing with suckiness is that it is 100% your suckiness, not just a percentage of suckiness in general. You own it. All of it.

The French immersion will be awesome. Anna is in a spanish one and it is amazing!! Of course, somehow I lucked out and it is our neighborhood school that she walks to, but I would drive her to do it. I would.

lillysmum said...

Excellent point, La. And thanks for the immersion recommendation!

Lara said...

I love your thoughts here. It's nice to have perspective, but it doesn't often make my trials that much easier to bear...

I put my eldest in a Kindergarten that was about that far away, too. I was lucky to find someone who lived near me during the first week or so of school, so we did the carpool thing: I took mornings and she picked up in the afternoon. I'll cross my fingers that you can come up with a similar arrangement.

Katya said...

I've never liked the "starving African children" mentality because it implies that no one is allowed to have a bad day except for the one person in the world who is the very worst off. In reality, we all have a limited range of experience and we can only work within that range. So I try to remember that when I'm having trouble sympathizing with someone else, and I try to expand my own range of experience and understanding so that I can have more perspective on my own life. (I don't always succeed on either front.)