How often do you stop and smell the roses? I’ll let you think about that for a second.
In today’s guest post, Cordelia explains why it’s important to make time for things like that. The little things.
To say I’m excited about this post would be a huge understatement, so I’m not going to keep you any longer. Dive in!
Don’t look at me like that, I know using the phrase ‘stop and smell the roses’ is such an overused cliche.
But like all overused cliches, there’s a reason behind it. My name is Cordelia, and this is my story about stopping, and roses, and all the bits in between like baking bread and freshly cut grass. This is the point in which you might be utterly confused as to what is going on.
Don’t you worry your pretty little head, we’ll meander round to the point eventually.
But first. Stopping. Roses. Bread. Grass.
All have one thing in common: they are tiny things. Unimportant things. Things that are just there, in your life, whether or not you notice them. 52p for a bag of slightly squashed white bread from the supermarket. Roses in your neighbours garden, blooming long after they should be, defying the cold mornings to bob their heads at you. The scent of freshly mown grass wafting on the breeze as you walk to work, barely having registered the change of seasons.
Small things. Inconsequential things.
I love these things. They are the brightener-uppers of the day when you stop and acknowledge them. They are the things that can slow you down and make you take a breath and remember that life isn’t always busy and stressy and filled with meetings or social events or just trying to keep your own brain in one piece.
There was a time when I didn’t pay any attention to these things. When I was so wrapped up in the big things like ‘Trying To Eat’, ‘Trying To Stay Alive’, ‘Trying Not To Cry For The Fifth Time Today’.
I didn’t think I had time or energy for the little things.
To be completely honest, I forgot entirely they were there. My world had slowly faded in colour, like an old sepia photograph that had lain forgotten for years at the bottom of a box in the attic. My world had shrunk to the four walls of my bedroom, and occasionally the four walls of the doctors office.
My world was unrecognisable to the one I had grown up in. One in which I delighted in going blackberry picking in the autumn, and delighted over the first snowdrops in the spring. One in which I found pleasure in an ice cream dripping over my fingers on a hot summer’s day, my toes buried in the sand. I was lucky to have a blessed childhood filled with so many tiny things that each day added up to a big thing.
My world was little. But it wasn’t filled with little things.
I remember the first time the little things began to come back to me. It was when I spent a summer in a psychiatric ward, a long summer of endless sterile corridors and whispered conversations with people I barely remember the name of now.
One day I was spending some time alone in my room, with the duvet bunched up on the deep windowsill to make a comfy cushion. The world had stopped being so loud. The sun rays filtered through the window and warmed my skin. I could see trees and flowers blooming in the garden.
I was still alive. Big thing. Those leaves outside would wither and regrow with barely anyone stopping to mark the passage of time. Little thing.
It was that day that I began to feel like myself again.
Began to feel like maybe I did have a future after all, that maybe I would get out and be a functioning member of society. Big things. But I vowed to myself that day that I would stop and appreciate the little things too, that I wouldn’t let them leave my life again.
I’ve kept that promise, more or less. Whenever life gets big and overwhelming I force myself to stop.
Stop. Roses. Grass. Bread. Breathe
Centering my world on the little things for just a moment reminds me of all the things that this world has to offer. All the amazing things I haven’t appreciated enough yet. All the things I want to be alive to see. And it took me a long time to get to that point. Hours and hours of big work, of taking myself apart and putting the pieces back together again like an old engine in a car that has come spluttering to an abrupt halt.
The little things come back to me when I walk through London and catch a glimpse of St Paul’s Cathedral peeking through the tall buildings, or when I go home to Devon and take in the heart achingly beautiful view from the moors. Little things in the grand scheme of my life, but big things in the grand scheme of me staying alive.
All this is a giant plea for you to just stop. Take a moment to look around you. Within a hundred metres there will be a hundred little things for you to appreciate, for just a second. Things that maybe no one else that day has appreciated.
For me, right now, sat on my bed: I can appreciate the new warm coat I finally treated myself too, the posters on my wall that remind me of my chosen family, the Winnie the Pooh themed bedding that transports me back to my childhood.
Little things. They help the world keep spinning.
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