Tag Archives: little things

Happy? Stopping in the Small of it All

What do we really need for contentment? At what point do our goals cloud “life” itself?

How much work is too much work? How much of something is too much anything? How little is too little?

There’s no universal answer. The less one can live with, though, the more likely one’s chances of finding contentment.

I remember a friend once commenting that the wealthy are more scared of not having money than the poor are of never getting it.

I don’t know, I guess it’s true. I know some moneyed folks who don’t understand the class divide, and when they peer over that pay-precipice, whoo-ee — us little peoples with our cheap-ass wine, “good” and not-so-much-so underwear, “I Need a Paycheck” stack of recipes, and tendency to have to ask “how much” ‘cos we know there’s a price we can’t touch and it’s low… well, we’re a different breed.

Some of us are angry about it, and some of us know how good we really have it.

For all I don’t got, what I got’s pretty awesome — ‘cos it comes with a worldview that helps me enjoy it and not want for more (most of the time, for now). Sure, I stay out of stores and pretend we’re not a materialistic society in order to pull that worldview off when my finances dictate it, but whatever.

I got what I got, and I like a lot of it, and what I don’t got, I tend to get by without.

Soon I’ll be chasing the self-employment dragon with school, etc, and I imagine my desires will be increasing and my quiet, simple life will be shaken up as my needs grow and the corresponding scene develops.

There are some things I hope never change, though.

  • Like knowing a six-pack of beer and a burger-to-go eaten at the beach with a summer sunset, great friend(s), and million-dollar view rivals any experience had in a many-walled 4-star restaurant with entitled waiting staff and hoity-toity diners.
  • Or the delight of ugly boxer shorts, a torn concert t-shirt, and a DVD marathon with blinds drawn on an unapologetically rainy Sunday.
  • Or the here-and-now never-seen-THAT joy that is a road trip instead of flying somewhere, including the neuroses of choosing the music and a route before the trip ever happens.
  • Or knowing moments are built for milking and it doesn’t take long to do so, whether it means stopping to see the stars at night, taking the long way past a sunset, watching life unfold, or smelling a flower.
  • Or loving hanging out with friends who enjoy casual and chill as much as or more than being a part of any scene.

Sure, the media and the fancy folk sell the image of swank-and-busy lives, and how much we should validate our lives by the foods/drinks/things we can afford when with others, and maybe that’s great for you, but, for me, life’s about the simple-and-small moments that fill it all.

Someone once told me it wasn’t the big stars he loved in the sky, but all the little ones in between them.

And I think I look at life like that.

It’s the small things — the moments you pause for, gazes you steal, words you exchange, accidental encounters en route to Your Real Plans, unexpected little incidents that pepper your days.

That’s life, that’s the real deal. It’s the snippets, the moments, that stand out.

There’s a whole breed of world and people that live for the weekend, or the big party, or the next swank thang.

Sometimes I’m guilty of that too, but then I try to remember the moment, the smallness in the bigness. What’s something here, now, that I can notice or experience or remember? A taste, a smell, a sight, a sound — anything.

I want that, for forever — remembering the smallness in the bigness.

I hope my life is never always Big. I hope I always have Moments. I hope there’s forever equal parts of the Small and the Strange while it’s filling up with Big and Beautiful.

These are things I hope on this simple, nothing, every-day-is-like-today kind of Thursday… but a simple, nothing, every-day-is-like-today kind of Thursday on which there’s an amazing marine breeze as sun breaks behind cloudy heat reprieve and my bluesy-funk tunes swell and pound in my living room and my toes are painted pink, and the coffee’s brewing, and the floors are clean and…

Well, for what it is? It’s an amazing day. And I hope I always, always remember that.

Say Something, Dammit

The sky is blue. This I know.

I can be told once in my life that the sky is blue, and I need not be reminded. I may have had three concussions and had bleeding on my brain, but I’m sufficiently clued in enough to be able to recall the blueness of that great big yonder up there. It’s there, it’s bigger than life, and it’s unavoidable.

What I’m not smart enough to remember, however, is just how spiffy I am.

You see, I have these alien invaders in my body that will never, ever go away. They’re from planet Estrogen, and, man, as far as aliens go, they’re a right bitch sometimes.

Unfortunately, there is an entire world filled with people of my ilk who have been invaded by these cosmic cunts, and we’re known as Women. These “Estrogenies” do things to us that we’re not that crazy about. They make us insecure, make us moody, and make us sometimes a little inconsistent. Fortunately, they also make our boobs swell once a month. It’s a give-and-take thing, really.

Guys are pretty low-key. We like that about you. We like the fact that we know we can make you a sandwich, kiss your neck, give you a beer, and you feel like you’re the king of the jungle. Easy-peasy.

We, however, communicate more than you. You, obviously, communicate less. And you’re deceptive. You like to think you’re simple. “I am man. I grunt, therefore I am.” But you’re complicated. You get moody, you get silent, and you internalize. It’s what men do. We understand this.

What we can’t process, though, is the price it sometimes comes at. Men close themselves off, and then by so doing, they also forget to communicate with us about the little things that help to keep relationships moving nice and happy-like.

“You look nice today.”
“Have I told you lately how much you rock?”

We wish we didn’t need to be told that everything’s well and good and we’re still cared about and we still do all the things to you that we did way back when, but we do need to hear these things. And frankly, you need to hear them from us, too. Everyone does.

Compliments and expressions of affection are like yogurt. They have a shelf-life, and while they keep a little longer than you might think, but when they go, man, they go. And then the weird comes down. Insecurities rise, distance ensues, and things get complicated. Relationship mold. Ew.

It’s lame, but it happens. It doesn’t take much to get out of your head sometimes and just remember to say good things about your partner. Keep them secure about how they’re valued, even when you’ve got things going on otherwise. We all get a little too internal, and it’s just not fair to our lovers if we’re all self-involved and failing to acknowledge their worth to us from time to time.

It’s really easy to forget to be communicative about these things when your sex life is going, but at least then you have a physical expression of that affection, and sometimes things can be left unsaid. If you’re not getting physical often, then it’s really important to at least have the communication working, right? Pretty obvious there. 2 + 2 = 4, yeah?

It’d be wonderful if we only had to be told once in our lives that we’re loved, but it doesn’t work that way. The more it happens, the more real it becomes to us. Fleeting suggestions of affection really don’t leave deep imprints on us, and frankly, they often don’t even make a dent. Even worse is, if we’re told how great we are over a period of time, and then time lapses where it ceases to happen much at all anymore, then there’s even greater reason to become insecure.

Put your money where your mouth is, people, and tell ‘em that you dig ‘em. Tell ‘em often, tell ‘em good. If you don’t, you never know, you might just lose what you have, and that’d be a crying shame. Especially if the feelings existed, but your communication simply lacked. The price we pay for these oversights is far too high.

(And, hey, watch out for the Estrogenies, eh?)

Pop Psychology: “The Little Things”

My Sunday mornings are something I greatly enjoy. Typically, it involves rolling out of bed sometime around 9 or later, then some lazy TV until I get up the energy to make a nice breakfast. Then, I’ll take my nice breakfast, my coffee, and settle in to watch one of my many movies (if nothing worthwhile’s on telly, and usually nothing is) until the urge to write has struck.

Guess which part of my morning I’m at now? Well, to my right sits too-strong coffee with a bit of milk, and in the VCR is one of my really old videotapes – An American Psycho. My breakfast was eggs scrambled with caramelized red onions and red peppers with sundried tomatoes and basil, and back bacon, and good toast. I’m pretty much in my happy place now. A shower eventually looms, and then a trip out into the world for a Solo Day of Fulfillment.

The movie, a psychological classic, has got me thinking. If you’ve never seen American Psycho, it’s a remarkable study of the psychosis of the Type-A serial killer, chillingly portrayed by Christian Bale. The writing is top-notch (as most of Bret Easton Ellis’ work tends to be) and the acting makes it pretty surprising that Christian Bale ever got another job after that movie, since he became the killer, which generally slays an actor’s commercial appeal. (Much like how accurately portraying Ted Bundy put Mark Harmon’s career in the toilet for a decade.)

As I said, the movie has me thinking. There’s the old cliché, “How well do we really know anyone?” Not very, not usually. We think we know people, but we tend to go on face-value more than any real criteria. There’s a segment at the beginning of the movie when Bale’s character, Patrick Bateman, goes on at length about his skincare regime. The inference is, his face is the only thing people have to go on, and its perfection is his façade, covering his whirlwind of anger, insecurities, and need for approval, all of which drives his merciless, brutal killing of women.

We find “love” by comparing likes. Ooh, we like the same movies, the same books, we have fun the same way, we laugh at the same jokes; it must be love!

The thing is, even the most stark-raving lunatic enjoys culture and movies and has favourite foods they can’t live without. Likes and interests are superficial, at best.

When it comes to people in my life, be it friends or family or lovers, I watch The Little Things. The insignificant things that we often brush aside are the greatest tells as to who and what the people around us are like. It doesn’t take me long to assess a person’s character, and it tends to make me fiercely loyal when I see them behave in respectful, goodly ways.

Ignore the big picture and turn on the macro lens. Do they respect people providing them service in stores and establishments? Do they come to the aid of someone in need? Are they helpful when someone asks them for info on the street? Can they chat amiably with a perfect stranger? Do they ensure they’re including you in conversations with friends? Do they arrive on time, or let you know when they’re going to be late? Do they drive aggressively, tail-gating every car they come upon?

You get the picture. I’m not saying a person should be dumped for any of the above transgressions, but you sure as hell ought to be taking note of it. For instance, one could assume that I have a very quick temper by the way I get so snappish when riding my scooter, or one could at least assume I’m very quick to get on the defensive. And they’d be right. It’s true, I get very defensive. It’s one of my worst qualities. It also speaks to the fact that I’m a perfectionist who overthinks things, so when someone begins to point out a flaw or an error on my part, I might well put up a wall to protect myself. I know this to be my character weakness, and I at least have the guts to own up to it with those around me. It doesn’t make the flaw go away, but at least I’m accountable about it. As flaws go, it could be worse, but it’s still a character flaw.

I’m forever astounded, though, by people who seem to blatantly ignore endless flaws and attitude problems in partners, all because they have ‘so much in common.’

So many of us hide a great deal of who we are. We’re fools if we fail to suspect others might be doing the same. We have insecurities, fears, hatreds, weaknesses, and they all combine for a lethal cocktail at times. How we behave in the Little Moments is indicative of our character at its deepest levels. Yes, we have flaws, but are we inherently good and kind people? Look deeper than the surface. Our daily insignificant actions are the only true evidence we provide – the things we do so naturally that we don’t even think before we act. These are the moments when who we are comes through, and those are the moments to take note of who’s at heart of the person you think you know.