Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Jamie Kelly: The joy of being a person; the bliss of the little things

I just went down to the deli in our building to see what they had for food. They don't make many vegan things, but sometimes they have sides of stuff and they have a nice salad bar. I got a side of seasoned red potatoes and put some ketchup on them. I then needed to decide whether I was going to eat them there or go back to my office. I decided to grab a fork and just eat it on the way. I was overcome with happiness at the thought. What a good predicament to be in!

This decision gave me some unexpected perspective on how these little things make me so happy. With my blissful ketchup covered red potatoes, I walked, ate, and realized that this isn't the first time this week I have been happy and aware of why.

The time prior, I got excited about my new TV. I thought and thought about it, did research and chose one that I will pay for all by myself. No pressure, no stress, just an amazing new toy. I anticipate it's arrival daily and envision playing Rock Band or Super Mario Galaxy 2 on it.

I used to get this way around game releases. My entire year would be bookmarked by when the next Zelda came out, when the new Nintendo system was released or when Perfect Dark FINALLY hit shelves.

And even then, I felt like this feeling was something unique. We all have them, so in the context of person to person, bliss over something small isn't rare, but I do think that it both goes unnoticed a whole lot and it isn't respected as much as it should be.

As humans, I think this feeling is very unique. I believe, sincerely, that once we get to wherever we go after we die, we will look back on things and say something like, "Man, I miss ice cream SOOOO MUCH!" because it is a HUMAN EXPERIENCE. The excitement of intimacy, sex and humor, the playing and listening of music, the expression of art, the ability to work hard and to see the results in a forming six pack or tighter jaw line, these are very human joys, though other creatures share some as well.

I see people all around me taking bliss in the little things. People who look forward to their first coffee in the morning, people who eagerly await an upcoming concert, people who read reviews for a movie or game that they have been waiting for for ages, the delight of making and then eating food, naps, kittens, summer, roller coasters, new cars, guns, free time, vacation, a new CD, a new cell phone....the list goes on forever.

Red rosemary potatoes covered in ketchup.

When people use these little things to cope with life, that is when trouble is invited. ABSOLUTELY HAVING TO HAVE COFFEE in the morning no longer makes the trip to Starbucks a fun event to look forward to, Instead, it is a critical pillar in your day and without it, you are worse off. THE ABSOLUTE NEED TO DRINK AT EVERY GET TOGETHER removes the excitement of the variety and specialness that is going to a new place for a get together since without alcohol, you feel incapable of relaxing or loosening up. Drinking becomes a step rather than a treat.

There are two things that I think we need to do in reaction to this awareness. First, realize how lucky we are to have these little things. Second, I think that it's important to realize that we all have a list of unique joys and that if my list doesn't match up with yours, that's fine. I don't like to drink, but if you do, then do it. It gives a bit more comfort to someone who is typically uptight about how others choose to spend their time, or in American terms, their money.

Do you get mad at people who spend more than 20/30/40 hours a week on World of Warcraft or Farmville?

Do you find it appalling that someone drives a car that is WAY more expensive than it needs to be?

Do you thrive on the gossip of how others are "screwing up" their life by living it the way THEY want?

Does it bother you when someone wears clothing that is very revealing or that otherwise gets a lot of attention?

Does the idea of someone spending $800 on a purse make you want to punch them in the teeth?

Are you upset by someone's insistence that they want to watch or listen to something that you don't?


How intolerant are you of the ways in which others decide to take joy from the little things? Does it humble you to realize that there are likely thousands of people around the world who would criticize everything YOU do? Do you like that feeling? Why do you perpetuate it?

I went on a date last week. The girl had a problem with everything. Where her friends were living, what they did in their free time, how people decided to spend their money...all of it. I wondered why she felt like this was a good investment in her energy, why it seemed appropriate to tell me, someone who she might potentially start a future with, that she has a problem with just about everything that she herself DOESN'T do.

Take joy in the little things, just don't make them a mandatory part of your coping with life and please, PLEASE, don't criticize others for the way they choose to spend their time and money. It's ugly.

Then again, I just criticized you for spending your time criticizing others, didn't I?

1 comment:

  1. Well, the truth is... Perfect Dark WAS Awesome.