Delight in the Little Things

Today’s card is a very simple, yet poignant quote from Rudyard Kipling, British short-story writer, novelist, poet, journalist, probably best known for his collection of stories in The Jungle Book and his poem Gunga Din.

The quote reads:

Delight in the little things. – Rudyard Kipling

I can’t help but harken back to my younger days, when I was a child growing up in Bowie, Maryland. We lived in our ranch on Pointer Ridge Drive until I was 13 years old. What we learn as children can often inform our lives as we grow and age and work and then retire. The truth is, compared to now, life was simpler back then. I didn’t grow up with the internet or a cellphone. We played outside. I recall summer days swinging on the swing set, playing flashlight tag or red light/green light in the yard with my friends, going to the neighborhood pool, and watching select television programs as a family. In the winter months, we were fortunate to have a large hill in our backyard, which made for phenomenal sledding; all the neighbors would come to our house to take runs on our hill. Hot chocolate and cookies followed. I remember trips to New Jersey to visit our family, mostly around the holiday season, which may be why I’m feeling a little nostalgic. These were the little things, but they’re what I remember most about being young.

As we age, we remember things in snapshots, or in our brains as short video clips. I believe these memories have informed so much of who I am today. It all comes back to valuing your family and friends.

Now that I find myself in my fifties, I delight in so many little things that add up to the big things. In fact, Kipling’s quote reminds me of a passage I wrote in my novel, LITTLE MILESTONES, during an exchange between the main character, Olivia, and her friend Nate, who are both somewhat disappointed by the path their lives have taken. The exchange goes like this:

“Since I’ve moved here, I’ve started looking at life differently. When I lived in New York, everything seemed big. Big city. Big events. Big wedding. Big jobs. Big pressure. Now, I’ve started to pay attention to all the little milestones I’m experiencing.”

“How so?” Nate asked.

“Well, I left the city and started new here. Little milestone. I got a new job and a new way of life. Little milestone. I’m starting a new business, making friends, taking Salsa lessons. Little milestones. All these little ones may end up creating a big milestone one day.”

“Or maybe it’s okay just to have lots of little milestones,” he said.

He was right. It was practical, yet dreamy. Realistic, yet hopeful. Small, yet significant.

And it was a beautiful way to look at life.

—From Little Milestones, copyright 2019

Whether it's taking a walk on a beautiful day and looking up at the sky and seeing the sliver of the moon, or taking our boat out on the water for the afternoon, or just hanging out with our children and our family, I've learned to cherish every moment . . . the little ones, especially.

The older I get, the more I realize it's the little things I love the most. The big things are great, too, but I think when you look back on your life, you realize you spend your time doing more little things consistently, and they become a part of what you value most.

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