Appreciating the little things

by She Flies With Her Own Wings

I spent the weekend at the coast in Seaside with a few good friends, it was nice to take a little break from the pace of everyday life.  We live in a society that never stops.  Think of the last time you took a break… Now think of the last time you took a break and didn’t use that break to sit in front of a computer screen to surf the web, to sit in front of a TV and watch a ‘reality’ show, or use your phone to text as a way to ‘keep in touch’.
For most of us it is rather hard to think of that time, maybe even almost impossible.  Because after all, how can we survive without our technological devices that allows the ‘world to be at the touch of our fingertips.
-Now I say all of this not to completely bash technology, because hey, it is a great thing and I myself almost always have my phone at reach (and I write this sitting at a computer)…so call me a bit of a hypocrite.  But, I also put some words/phrases in quotes because many of our ‘reality’ shows, aren’t reality at all; I don’t consider texting a way of ‘keeping in touch’, sure it’s better than nothing at all, but how hard is it to pick up the phone and have a real conversation, or make that drive to visit; and the ‘world’ cannot be truly seen or experienced through technology.
The quote ‘too much of anything is never a good thing’ plays a big role in this topic.  Technology is great and can be so useful and helpful…but when that technology gains control of our lives and we ‘can’t function’ without it – it becomes a problem.
I’m going to transition a bit from technology specifically to other materialistic items.  The other day a good friend of mine asked me why the things in life that don’t really matter are the things that do, and the things that do truly matter don’t.  As sad as it is, a lot of this is true.  And we’re all guilty of it.  We allow ourselves to use our own money to pay to be walking billboards, we care more about what’s on the outside than the inside – not just when we judge others, but with our own selves.  I wish I could say I’ve never done any of this, but I’m not perfect and I’m definitely guilty.  I’ve even had the privilege of seeing how others who are much less fortunate than myself and many other Americans, can survive with so little   – my sophomore year of high school I was able to go to Thailand with a group of students to build a home through Habitat for Humanity and the thing that hit me the most and the biggest lesson I learned while being there, was how these people have so little, yet they are some of the happiest people I have ever met.  I spent a lot of time thinking about how on earth that was possible, but then I realized it’s because they are grateful and appreciative of what they do have, they’re not constantly wanting something newer and better – they know what truly matters in life.  This lesson was reiterated to me during my time in Rwanda and then Brazil.  Still, having been able to see and experience this first hand, I still have to remind myself to try to not be so materialistic, to truly value and appreciate how fortunate I am, and to remember what really matters in life.  It’s hard, it’s a battle that we all have to fight everday here in a Western society.
Now the moral of this story is not to go throw out your cell phone and computers, not to never buy anything new, not to dress in rags, – I’m not saying to go live like a caveman.  I’m saying to remember how lucky you are, to appreciate what you do have, and take time out of your busy and hectic lives to look around you and see the beauty – spend some quality time with your family, witness something majestic.  Because out of all the ugly and bad things in the world right now, there’s still a lot of good and a lot of natural beauty.  It’s up to us, as individuals and as a society, to wake up and start slowing down a little.
Stop. Marvel.  And appreciate the little things 🙂