Dear No One,
The first quarter of 2022 is almost coming to an end. I refuse to believe that – in all honesty, I feel like it’s still February. And yet so many things have already happened. BAISmag’s first physical zine has been published. A second is on its way, the submissions for the third are still open. I have submitted a dozen, if not more, files to Brightspace already, with several remaining assignments waiting for their documents. Preparations for events previously cancelled are underway, and my social agenda is quickly filling up. Many significant, sizeable, and substantial things are happening. So many big things to enjoy!
As all these big and exciting things are happening, I’m learning a lot. Stuff like how my parents’ new coffee machine works, how to properly keep track of finances using Excel, or how many hours of sleep to get at what time to keep my energy levels up. There’s something else that I learned too, and since it did, in fact, change my life, I would love to share it with you. But before I can do that, I need to make a confession.
When I was younger, there was one motivational quote that I absolutely despised: Enjoy the little things.
The saying made me want to bang my head through a wall – an urge that would only grow when the quote continued with One day, you may look back and realise they were big things.
I hated it, because I didn’t think the little things – the truly tiny things – were worth being overly excited about. Sure, they mattered, and if they were good, it could be a nice extra. But turning a mosquito into the elephant, as we say in The Netherlands, for something as small as the colours of the blossoming trees, was not something that I could ever see myself doing.
And then… Then we got into a pandemic, and out of it. More things than I can begin to list began to change. I’m not the same person as I was two years ago.
Suddenly, I find the littlest of things bringing the biggest smiles to my face. The fact that the colour of my tea cup, or the colour of my perfume bottle, matches my outfit. The fact that the sky, visible as I sit in bed doing my readings, is a soft pink-and-orange gradient. The fact that the freshly mowed grass didn’t make me sneeze when I passed it this morning. The fact that my train connection from last semester returned.
All these things seem so tiny, so trivial, so unworthy of smiling so broadly over. Every time I find myself smiling over something so insignificant, for a few seconds, I feel like I have to justify my reaction. Like I have to force the smile off my face and keep my excitement internal. And even then, I feel like I have to justify it to myself – why do I enjoy this little thing so much?
Not once have I been able to answer that question. And initially, that elicited a wave of guilt. I felt guilty for enjoying that little thing so much. After all, it was worthless. Insignificant. Frivolous. Who cares about matching their tea cups and perfume with their outfit? It’s nothing more than a random guilty pleasure.
I used to have a ton of those. Guilty pleasures. I liked smelling new books, bingeing romcoms, and getting chocolate-covered peanuts every other Monday when I was home alone. I liked colour-matching my clothes with the daisies outside, painting some on my face, and having an impromptu photoshoot just so I could quote a new song of one of my favourite artists. Now, I could add useless colour matches and getting up for the sunrise to the list.
But in the few short months that 2022 has been underway, I’ve come to dismantle my list of guilty pleasures. For the simple reason that I’ve come to dislike the term. I don’t call my guilty pleasures ‘guilty’ anymore. They’re just pleasures.
Because if something brings you joy, I learned to believe, you should never have to feel guilty for finding pleasure in it (unless, of course, the pleasure includes a form of hurting others, but I’d think that’s fairly obvious). Let me lie in bed watching dumb tiktoks for half an hour. Let me read the same book for the fourth time in as many months. Let me watch my favourite movie three times in 48 hours. Let me make a fruit salad that’s impossible to finish within a few days unless I have it with every single meal (which is what ended up happening, by the way). Let me colour match things no one else will see together. And let me take pictures just to quote a song.
If there’s one thing I’ve learned in the past four months, it’s that things that make you happy, deserve to be celebrated for that, no matter how trivial they may be, and no matter how weird they might seem to others.
Enjoy the things that are barely noticeable. Enjoy the things no one else enjoys. Enjoy the things that bring the biggest, brightest smile to your face without you being able to explain why.
In short (and 14 y/o me can’t believe I’m saying this): enjoy the little things.
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