How to Enjoy the Simple Things

I have to cringe when someone asks me how to appreciate the simple things in life.  I've discovered this question often comes from those who've had "too much" their whole lives.  Growing up and having your heart's desire handed to you, seems to push the ability out of people's minds.

How hard is it really?  Well, apparently harder than I would have thought since so many of you out there seeem to have this problem.  I propose some simple exercises to get you more in the mindset to see what life hands you everyday that you ignore.

1.  Lock up the bank account -  by this I mean literally live as if you had no money.  This means, no quick jaunts into McDoogals or cardboard and fat factory of your choice, no Starbucks... you want coffee, make it at home, don't go out to dinner (learn to cook), don't go see a movie (or rent one), if you are bored.  Get off your lazy tucus and head to the park or the library.  Try hanging out with friends at your house (bars cost way too much and you're broke remember).   Make it a point to make a new friend, or at least talk to someone new everyday.  You don't have to impress people with money.

2. Find out what goes on around your area.  You'd be surprised how many times people are shocked to find out that there is a book signing at the library, or a neighborhood cook out, or hundreds of other such free events happening within blocks of them and they sit at home ordering pizza and watching pay per view.

3. Listen to people.  This is the number one issue I find; people are so self absorbed these days, that if someone speaks to them, it must run through a filter of 'and this affects me, how?' before it gets discarded or listened to.  People have forgotten how to interact with one another (at least without the filter of a computer screen - I bet they have hunderds of friends online).  Talk to someone new everyday.  We've forgotten how to make friends so often today.  Everyone is regarded as creepy, or a potential issue rather than a potential friend.

4. Make people your priority.  Stop worrying about what car you want (or the other person drives).  Don't obsess over the latest trend.  Obsess over making someone laugh today.  Do something just to make someone else feel good and don't stop to ask 'hey, what do I get out of this?'.

People have forgotten how to care about one another, and in turn have come to neglect the most important part of themselves.  The love of life.  Take up a hobby.  Photography is good because it teaches you to look at the world with new eyes.  See the beauty in the mist tendril coming from peoples mouths as they hurry by on a cold december morning.  See the lone wildflower struggling to make itself seen in the shaded back corner of the park.  Watch the sheer joy on a toddlers face as he swings freely without a care in the world.

You can never appreciate the simple things in life, until you allow yourself to be simple.  To stop cluttering up you day with what you want to buy, or who you want to impress, or where you must be seen...

And the number one way to enjoy the simple things in life.  Allow yourself to be a complete dork.  You may laugh and think how silly, when you see the grown couple rolling in the grass or swinging in the park.  They may laugh too loud and seem improper, but honestly, aren't you jealous of them.  They are freely having a good time.  They don't worry about what you think.  Maybe you shouldn't worry either.

Hakuna matata


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Mark Cruz
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Posted on Mar 7, 2012
Jennifer Thompson
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Posted on Dec 10, 2008