It’s a shame how often the small things in life go unnoticed—the tiny pleasures that make each day just a little bit more worth living.
Because when we think of what makes life great, we often think of the big stuff, like falling in love or finding our purpose or becoming a parent. But those huge events only come about every once in a while, and between all of that there are so many incredible, everyday experiences that contribute to what, overall, is a beautiful life.
So let’s take a moment to appreciate the little things. Let’s start a (relatively incomplete) list of the countless tiny, seemingly unimportant things that bring much-needed smiles to our faces. Because as beautiful and important as the big things are, the small things are just as necessary to keep us going and keep us joyful.
1. Eating delicious food.
Whether your taste is for pizza, ice cream or salad, I think we can all agree that those first few bites of something we love are transformative. When your first thought is simply, “Oh yeah, this is delicious,” and you realize that you have to take your time and maybe even close your eyes. You have to savour it.
Oh food, how I love you.
2. Finishing a good story.
Whether it be a book, a movie, a TV series, or a video game, the last moment is always the greatest pleasure.
It’s a little bit sad, yes, because now it’s all over. Those characters that you love are gone. Maybe they met a good end. Maybe a bad one. Either way, their struggle is over, and chances are, it all came to a fitting end. Because in order for this to be a pleasure, you must be left satisfied. You must be left happy to have had these fictional lives intersect, even briefly, with yours.
And in that moment, you are both peaceful and overwhelmed with emotion, clutching the book or DVD case or maybe a pillow close to you as your mind slowly comes back to your life after spending so much time in this other world.
3. When pets are affectionate.
There’s something particularly satisfying about being accepted by an animal, because animals are just so pure. There’s no fear of appearances with them. They don’t know how to fake anything to protect you or your emotions—they just do what comes natural.
So when an animal walks up to you and sits by your side, or crawls into your lap, or falls asleep with its chin rested on top of you, you realize in that moment what it feels like to be loved and accepted completely.
4. A big gulp of a nice, cold drink.
This is especially nice on a hot day.
It’s always a surprise when it happens too, because drinks aren’t always cold enough. Taking a nice, big gulp and feeling the cold liquid spread throughout your chest, can leave you feeling fresh and crisp and satisfied.
5. Weird weather (when it isn’t dangerous).
Storms can be absolutely terrifying when you have to walk or drive through them, regardless of whether it’s wind, rain or snow.
But when they’re mild enough to not pose a risk, and when you don’t have to leave the house or watch anyone that you love leave the house, they’re also brilliant.
How fascinating is it to sit in the window and watch as flurries of white snow conceal everything from sight at a certain distance? How cars become little more than shapes that turn their glowing, yellow eyes upon you. And then the day after, if the storm was strong enough, you can walk around and take a look at the destruction it has caused (hoping, of course, that the destruction skipped homes and humans).
6. Changing something about your appearance (and really liking it).
Maybe your hair has needed cutting for a while now. Maybe you get a new tattoo, or you change out your wardrobe, or try out a new make-up style. Either way, there is something satisfying about changing your appearance.
It has the power to make you feel like an entirely new person, and with it comes silly little resolutions that you may never keep. “I’m different now,” you think to yourself. “And this new person will be stronger, better and more driven than ever.”
Or maybe it just makes you feel more confident. You leave the house with a bit of an extra bounce to your step that day, walking down the street with the knowledge that everyone is looking solely at you because you are fabulous.
It might be a small, outer change, but it most certainly can come with a huge change internally.
7. That moment when you realize that you like the company you’re in.
Maybe you’re just sitting in the car with them after a long day. You’re talking, laughing, or listening to their stories, and it hits you in that moment: I really like these people.
You’re suddenly filled with affection. For the way they speak, the way they think. You’re glad that you’ve spent this time with them, because whether you mean it in a friendly way, a familiar way, or a more-than-friendly way, this person means something to you, and that’s awesome.
8. Finishing something you didn’t want to do (but had to).
Maybe it was an essay for class. Maybe you had to attend a dull or nerve-wracking event. Maybe you had to have a conversation with someone that you really didn’t want to have. Either way, that moment when you finally realize that it’s over brings such relief. You did it, you can be proud that you did it, and now it’s finally time to move on.
9. Discovering that you have a shared experience with someone.
Nobody likes being alone. And nobody likes feeling like they’re the only person who’s going through something. So when you discover that someone you know—even someone you don’t know particularly well—has experienced the same thing as you, it’s nice to be able to revel in that familiarity.
And maybe it isn’t necessarily a positive experience that you share. Maybe it isn’t something that you would have wanted them to experience. But just the same, you feel closer to them now that you know you have something deep and personal in common. And even if you never speak to them again, you suddenly hold them closer in your heart forever.
10. When an old friend reaches out to you.
Maybe it’s someone you knew in high school, or elementary school even. Maybe it’s someone you were really close to at some point, but you’ve since drifted apart.
And maybe they don’t reach so far out as to ask you to get coffee sometime, maybe they just post a little joke on Facebook and tag you on it, or send you a message asking what you’ve been up to.
Either way, it’s always nice to know that someone you used to know or care about still thinks about you from time to time.
Author: Ciara Hall
Editor: Nicole Cameron