Today's society is brainwashed into thinking "the bigger, the better." We're told to dream big, go big, do big things —but what about the small stuff? Life's not-so-everyday pleasures, the things that we should all take the time to do, but too often forget about. If you're wanting to get back to the basics, here's a few ideas to help you remember how to savor life, every tiny bit of it.
1. Recreate a childhood favorite.
Childhood, the simplest of times. Something as small as making a classic PB&J for lunch could be just the break you need from your normal lunch routine. Crust, no crust, cut diagonally, or into tiny triangles —
2. Go star gazing.
Get lost in just how minuscule you are in this universe. By realizing how big this world we live in really is, you're able to see how insignificant your daily stresses are.
3. Enjoy your cup of coffee.
Actually drink it for the flavor, for the chance to simply have a moment —not while you're rushing on your way to work, or in the library at three in the morning when you have four chapters to go. Share the experience with a friend, somewhere quiet with just the steam of your mug and a few minutes of catching up. I've even heard of some cafes where there isn't wifi or reachable outlets, forcing customers to interact while they sip on their lattes.
4. Smile at strangers.
The woman you see at the bus stop with the long face may feel like she has the weight of the world on her shoulders, and your friendly gesture could be all that is needed to lift it away. Make it a habit —something as small as a smile goes longer than you could ever imagine.
5. Find shapes in clouds.
I swear kids could do this for days, but most adults look up and see the clouds for exactly what they are. The only difference is that kids rely on their imagination to make sense out of everything, whereas most grown-ups have become so technical, it's sad. Sometimes it's okay to act like a kid again. Spend an afternoon at the park recharging the part of your brain that's been out of order for so long. You never know what you'll see.
6. Pay it forward.
Whether you buy the next person's coffee in a drive-thru, bring a homeless man a hot dinner or carry your elderly neighbors mail in everyday. One silent act of kindness speaks a 1,000 words.
7. Watch the sun rise and set in the same day.
We let days, weeks, months, and maybe even years go by without remembering to do something —don't let this be one of those things. With every new morning comes the promise of a fresh start, and every night the promise that the day's slate has been wiped clean. Simply put-time will pass without us realizing, but by watching one day fade into another your perspective on everything can drastically change.
8. Thank people.
No, not a mumbled "thanks" under your breath to someone who held the door, but a sincere expression for how thankful you are for someone or something they did. Not many people actually take the time to do this, so when you do, others will notice and remember you for the better.
9. Send a card in the mail.
Who doesn't love getting personalized mail? Normally this excitement comes once or twice a year for birthdays and maybe the holidays, but even those practices are slowly becoming extinct. Send a card just saying "Hi," or "Thinking of you on this random Tuesday because I had the best bagel ever, and I know how much you love bagels!" It's great to be thought of, or for little details about yourself to be remembered by someone else, so ditch iMessage for a second and spread the love by snail mail.
10. People watch.
You walk past hundreds of people a day, not knowing a single thing about them. Just sit on a bench somewhere and observe, everyone that passes has a story that you will probably never hear. Rather than judging someone on their appearance or attitude, you see how they exist naturally, which leads you to actually wanting to get to know them. By doing so, the next time you're behind someone in line, you might just be more open minded to striking up a conversation and learning a little bit about what makes them, them.
11. Spend time with different generations.
Most of us go to school and work with people similar to our age, but some of the greatest lessons in life will be taught to us by people that are significantly younger or older than us. Take time to have real conversations with your younger cousins and actually listen to the forever long stories your grandparents tell. Kids say genius stuff sometimes, and you never know how much your going to miss the ramblings of back in the day stories when you can't hear them anymore.