Sunday, 14 August 2016

How the world stops us appreciating the little things

One of the things I appreciate most in the entire world is walking along a city street in the rain, when everyone else is trying to get out of it. I imagine myself in some film noir film or painting, my long coat keeping me covered and secure, while the rain pounds off the street surface around me. People sprint left and right to try to get into shelter, their worried faces flashing my quiet contented smiling face a dagger'd scowl. It's a small fascination I have and one that most people don't share but it helps me get through my day. You see most mornings where I experience this feeling are those in which I'm on my way to the office to do a day's hard work. These types of little things get me through and in that sense are quite important to me.

This brings me to my main point, the modern world around us discourages this kind of quiet appreciation of little things that cost nothing. We are almost perpetually driven to want bigger, better, faster and crucially more expensive things, possessions and experiences. We are also told that if something is bad then it is bad, if it's good for most then it should be good and enjoyable for all. Everything is portrayed as black and white, and all the details are lost. We are somewhat discouraged from finding joy in small things that everyone else finds a nuisance or a hassle or even just unenjoyable. I think it's important to be able to do just that because it keeps us anchored both to ourselves and to the world around us, the real world. It helps us not get caught up in a world that is more and more appealing to our base selves and is largely controlled by people who don't have our best interests at heart. Advertising is almost always cynical, crude and designed to make people unhappy. If it makes us contented then it's not really doing it's job.

So how do you combat this? How do you deal with it? The trick, in my mind, is to recognise when something small is making you feel happy or content and make sure to actually experience it. Focus your time around these things instead of just taking them for granted. The next time i'm walking through the rain i'm going to try to not think about the day ahead or the day's past. I won't be walking along paying no attention but instead will enjoy the moment and try to live within it.

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