As we enter another holiday season, we will inevitably be bombarded with flashy advertisements and gift buying guides championing the latest and greatest gadgets, jewelry, cars, and so on. And while I’m not against investing in things that add value to our lives, I don’t like hearing about how people think they “need” a bunch of new and expensive things to be happy.
Truth be told, unless we’re investing in our personal growth and taking action, most of the money we spend on things doesn’t make us any happier or better off in the long run. We simply don’t need more fancy items in our closets collecting dust to find joy and contentment. In fact, we can find most of what we’re looking for by paying closer attention to the gifts we already have in front of us – the simple, perfect moments that make us smile…
A quiet morning.
A hug from someone you love.
Sipping a warm cup of coffee or tea.
Reading a few pages in one of those good books, newspapers, or magazines you love.
Learning a new skill all by yourself.
Feeling the burn after a good workout.
A child’s laughter.
Someone special wanting your attention.
Being able to sit with your true friends comfortably in silence.
Laughing at old family photos.
The moment just after the front door shuts and you suddenly have the whole house to yourself.
Walking around your home and admiring it right after you finish cleaning it up.
The smell of a home-cooked meal.
Throwing food up in the air and catching it in your mouth.
Listening to a song that actually makes you feel better.
When you make eye contact with a friend from across the room and you both automatically smile.
Having an interesting conversation with a complete stranger.
Finding out that others are experiencing the same problem you are experiencing, and finally knowing that you’re not alone.
The satisfying feeling of doing the right thing.
Looking up at the sky on a really clear night and seeing nothing but stars.
The cold side of the pillow on a warm summer night.
That first hint of a cool breeze at the end of a hot summer.
The crackling sound of a fireplace on a chilly winter night.
Sharing an umbrella with someone else.
The peaceful calm just after a heavy rainstorm or snowfall.
Walking barefoot in the grass.
Listening to the breeze blow through the trees.
When traffic is light and you get home from work or school faster than usual.
Realizing that you’re in the fastest moving checkout line at the grocery store.
When a little kid gives you a high five.
The quiet nook in the back of your local city library.
When a stranger offers to take a photo of you and your friends so you can all be in the photo together.
The joy of looking at a picture of yourself and loving it.
When an online video plays without playing an advertisement first.
Achieving a milestone that you’ve gradually and diligently worked for.
Being able to tell someone some genuine, good news.
Knowing deep down that you’ve made a difference in someone’s life.
The bittersweet feeling of finishing a really good book.
Sleeping right next to someone you truly love.
Falling asleep as soon as you lay down.
In order to recognize all of these moments we are so grateful for, there needs to be quiet.
The more silent you are, the more you can hear yourself think, and the more you can appreciate and enjoy the goodness that is already yours. Somewhere deep inside, you already know this is true.
How often have you experienced one of the 40 “perfect moments” mentioned above? And how often have you forgotten to appreciate such a moment for what it’s worth? If the answer is “too often,” that’s OK. We all forget sometimes. Let this post serve as a positive reminder.
Ultimately, the key is to leave enough space in your life to enjoy the space between the commotions.
Take a deep breath. Look around.
And give thanks.