Nexus

Quest For The Best Things In Life Often Overlooked

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More stories from Grace Hawkins

Everyone knows the big stuff that is important in life: love, friendship and other, big important things about humanity like kindness, compassion and doing your best to better the world.  But, while concerned with monumental components of life such as success, prestige, and annoying our siblings, we tend to lose sight of what is important.  What can get us back on track are the simple, small joys in life, and after 17 years on the Earth, I’ve discovered a fair share.

The number one overlooked joy in life: laughing so hard you pee yourself.  The outcome isn’t enjoyable, but the laugh sure is. I spent my entire second grade year doing this on a regular basis, and I regret nothing. However, actually wetting yourself is not required to have a good, hearty laugh that makes your heart sing.

Number two overlooked joy in life: the feeling you get after you sneeze. It’s like your brain just got sprinkled inside and out with fairy dust and everything in there is purely happy for that one inhale right after the sneeze. Enjoy it the next time someone tickles you with a feather.

Overlooked joy in life number three: getting to be that lucky person in fifth grade who gets to erase the dry-erase board.  In other words, pure joy. You wield the power to erase vocabulary, erase math problems, erase all worries with one easy swipe of the hand, figuratively and literally. You are easily capable of careless and innocent joy, something that should not, but does, become harder with age.

Number four overlooked joy in life: spinning in circles repeatedly in the middle of the kitchen (or anywhere else). I don’t care what other people say, this never gets old. Not only is it pure and silly fun, but it also serves as a lesson on perspective: life travels fast, just like the fridge, table and stove.

Overlooked joy number five: that day after having had a cold when you can finally breathe again. Especially after a long period of having a stuffy nose and sore throat, nothing feels better than waking up well again.  Sometimes, you have to learn the hard way to be thankful for the little things.

Number six overlooked joy: the sweet taste of water that is only distinguishable when you are very, very thirsty. Once again, hardship brings out the value in things once taken for granted.

Number seven overlooked joy: breathing in the air while riding a bike on a sunny fall morning. Everyone should try this. Crying out something like “Weee!” or “Yessss!” while riding down a big hill helps heighten the feeling of bliss.

Overlooked joy number eight: waving at a baby and having him/her wave or smile back. Your heart feels all of the benefits of parenthood without having to experience the downsides. Let the couple at Moe’s deal with their kid’s tantrums at age two, consumption of coins at age four and rebellious periods from ages eleven to twenty-seven. I am just gonna let myself enjoy this partially-toothed smile for a minute and then continue eating my burrito.  Again, no regrets.

Overlooked joy number nine: Running on the sidewalk barefoot at 10 years old on a warm sunny day where the exhilaration of running coupled with the thrill of doing something mom told you not to do and the slight sting of the textured cement on your feet that makes you feel very, very alive.  You can enjoy this at any age as long as you feel 10 years old at heart.

As a general rule, the secret to finding small joys in life is to be young at heart. So let loose! These tiny moments of happiness are more important than trivial worries or strife. Like the kitchen appliances, life rushes by in a blur, so make the choice to get giddy and dizzy off of the ride.

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The arts, cultural and news magazine of Henry W. Grady High School in Atlanta, Georgia