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Cherish the Small Things

Finding Gratitude in the Simplest Pleasures

Thankfulness is often an unconscious thing. We don’t regularly make it an active part of our lives. We might think about the big things that we’re grateful for, but miss out on the minutiae that bring us joy. Thanksgiving should be more than just a Thursday in November.

I often think of my dad’s last day. We lost him unexpectedly around the holidays 15 years ago; he’d passed away in bed after the briefest of illnesses. As he got himself into his bed, how could he have known that his feet would be leaving the ground for the last time?

Memories of that day make me think of the little things of life. The moments that bring joy, and how mindlessly fleeting they are. Will you be aware of the simple lasts of your life?

Will you realize when you’re having your last ice cream cone? What about blowing out your last birthday candles? Your last Christmas tree?

How about sharing that old inside joke that will now fall silent?

Or cheering for your favorite team for the final time? Or berating them for yet another frustrating loss — the last you’ll see?

Your last meal. Likely not your favorite. Maybe it’s just a frozen pizza. Whatever it is, it likely won’t be well thought out as something momentous.

Watching the last episode of your favorite TV show — which will go on without you, the story eternally unresolved.

Your last hot shower.

Your last time outside.

When you hear your favorite song from high school on the radio, and sing along — confidently, without missing a word — never to be heard again.

“One last game…”

The last time your dog showers you with unbridled, pure affection when you get home.

Your last first Spring day that’s warm and sunny enough that you finally don’t need to wear a jacket. You’ve worn a winter coat for the last time.

The last time you’ll smell salt air. Or a bakery. Or great coffee, just brewed.

The last beautiful sunset you’ll see.

Your last date night.

The last time you’ll hear your children’s voices.

Your last “I love you.”

What’s undeniable is that all of these things will eventually be true.

For the vast majority of us, we won’t know when that will be. As for me, I plan to spend a little bit of my time during these simple joys appreciating them, to make them count. 

One day, inevitably, they won’t come again.

Simple joys make our journey through this life far more scenic. Gather those rosebuds. Make your thankfulness a conscious thing — I know I will.