Through the trials and tragedies of life, it can sometimes become unclear as to why we must live through so much pain. I do not have any huge or existential answer as to why life is worth living, I am only a human. But I can offer you my best coping skill, one that I was forced to learn in the hardest time of my life, and one that has kept me genuinely happy in times of hardship.
I’ve spent a lot of my life unhappy and confused. The bad times were the most defining and the good times, to me, were basically a joke. I consider myself a big picture person but had been looking at it from the wrong angle. I was haunted by the idea that this was all for naught. I never focused on what was in front of me; I was too busy bombarding myself with nostalgia or pondering the eventual ends we all face. I let fear crush me, but I was still able to float through life since all of this negativity only existed in my mind.
This past summer, my resilience was tested in a way I hope I won’t have to experience for a long time. No one close to me has ever died, maybe a friend of a friend of a friend, but no one that I have ever loved. Within exactly two months of each other, two of my best friends unexpectedly passed, putting me face to face with all of my fears. I was sent into a whirlwind of grief but, weirdly enough, it was the crushing weight that led me to see the beauty in everything. I did not want to spend all of my time crying and alone; I did not want to lock myself away because I knew that Tom and Sam would disapprove. I had to keep going for them and I had to find a way to do it very quickly. That’s when I started noticing the little things. A breath of fresh air, the first sip of coffee in the morning, the names of the people that owned a book before you; small, random, unimportant things were what lifted me up and have kept me going to this day. I also found that these things are not at all small or unimportant. They are as significant as anything else, and to be honest, nothing in this life is that significant. We are all small, cosmically speaking, and no one is better than anyone else. My life holds just as much weight as a spider’s or a tree’s and recognizing this has made me feel more comfortable with myself than any beauty magazine or online article about self-acceptance.
In a Universe full of chaos and uncertainty, it is the little things that bring you back to Earth, to the present moment. They force you to see that even though we are small and our lives are fleeting, there is still so much to love and appreciate. I don’t let fear crush me anymore, but instead let it inspire me to live as fully as possible, because what else is there? We live in a society where happiness and success are far away goals; they are things to be sought after instead of something that can be found within you at any moment. At my age, everyone around me is confused and frustrated. We are getting closer and closer to the “real world,” and for some reason, none of us feel prepared. When the world is crashing down on you, when your future is clouded with uncertainty, remember to take a moment to look around. There are so many things just begging to be appreciated. Enjoy this moment as much as you can, time only marches forward and it’s a shame to waste your life anxious about the future or wishing you could change the past. There is beauty everywhere, from microscopic organisms that secretly dictate much of our lives, to the tallest mountains that will still be here long after we are gone.
It is the little things that make up everything we know, every piece has a purpose and nothing deserves to go unnoticed. It is the little things that I miss the most about my friends, and I wish it didn’t take saying goodbye for me to notice them.