Monday, July 13, 2009

The Small Things In Life

"Live for what is real to you. Live for what truly matters to you."
Just a few days ago while vacationing in my bestfriend's summer home in an affluent neigborhood in LaGrange, Georgia I found myself slipping into this state of mind. I mean really, what's life's point? Everyday spent futilely doing work that will only help us get more money, that will help us to afford all luxuries in life, and then we die, after a mere 80 years or so.

But what are the things that are real and truly matters to me?

Sometimes life gets so busy, engulfing and chaotic it is easy to think you have time for only the BIG STUFF. The new car, a successful business, a huge bank savings account, the ideal relationship with a significant other, the nicest house on the block, the latest fashions ....But for me, one thing that makes life as wonderful as it is, are the “small stuffs.” After all, big things are made up of the smaller ones.

I remind myself in everyday situations to embrace those small, often overlooked things that bring so much joy to me — my love of jazz & country music, not only because I think the music is awesome, but also because of where that love came from. I have fond memories of riding my horse named Mula, back when I was a teenager in my parent's farm. Country music reminds me of those hills and valleys, streams and rivers that we travelled early morning & late afternoon. And oh, how I miss those smell coming from the corn & ricefields.

It’s the small, heart & rose tattoo that I have on my left arm. Not because I think it looks attractive on me but because of the feeling of gaining back my self esteem, my independence & the freedom from a heartbreaking marriage. My ex would have never given me permission to have any tattoo anywhere on my body.

It’s the smell of an everyday item and the memory that accompanies it — my sunblock cream because it reminds me of being at Kalsangi Golf Course, Olaer swimming resort or Gumasa beach with my family back home or a fresh, sliced tomato because it takes me back to my grandpa's garden in the summertime where he had the tastiest pineapples and tomatoes in town (at least for me).

It’s walking through the bookstore any time between mid-April to late May and seeing all the school supplies, not because I’m there to buy any for myself but because I remember the excitement of going back to school when I was a student, and seeing the faces of my daughters when they were little girls shopping with that same feeling.

It’s the precisely placed "I LOVE JESUS" sticker on the back of the vehicle I wait behind in traffic. Though I’d rather not be sitting at the red light, that small sticker is a symbol to me of the faith & source of strength shared by many Filipinos.

Logically, focusing on the small things makes sense. When you have a huge goal or dream, starting with the small details is what makes them successful. Any journey starts from a single step.

The little things. It’s waking up much earlier than I am used to, but knowing I am about to sit with my daughter for coffee before she goes to work makes it more than worth it.

It’s remembering your friends’ birthdays, sending that one more e-mail or note when you’re ready to rest for the day. It’s the enjoyment of showing the world your superstar skills even if you are just in front of your own mirror at home with nobody around.

It’s waving as I drive past the sweaty, weary and tired construction workers on the side of the road just to give them a smile. It’s riding around in the car with my daughters, because we need to catch up. With no worry about today’s pricey gasoline or our to-do lists, this small thing is no “small thing” to take for granted.

Whether it is an old photograph, a specific area of town, an aroma, a brief memory, a few minute chat with a friend, a simple "I Love You" text to surprise your love one... It is always worth to embrace the small things that bless everyday life.