Last week Claire and I were attacked by a rather ferocious mother duck. There are a few problems you face when being attacked by a mother duck. Firstly, you have to run from it because it’s terribly frightening, despite the fact it is 1/20th your size and has no teeth. Secondly, it’s a mother to really cute ducklings and is only acting on a natural instinct to protect them, which means you can’t get away with hitting it with your handbag, that’s just barbaric! All you can do is run and scream, which is exactly what Claire and I did, much to the delight of an elderly man watching nearby.
After the Darkwing Duck attack was over and we had stopped running and screaming, we looked at each and burst out laughing uncontrollably. Amidst the fit of giggles and tears rolling down our cheeks, I had a moment where I realised how happy I was standing there with my best friend, laughing. It wasn’t a grande moment or one we’d remember for the rest of our lives, but it was a moment of pure happiness.
Our brush with death got me thinking, with all the day-to-day crap going on in our lives, are we over-complicating things and missing out on the simple joys like post-duck-attack-lols? How many small, awesome moments are we simply glossing over because they’re not deemed important enough, despite them probably being the most important moments of all?
There are a lot of motivational quotes that say things like, ‘Live every day like it’s your last.’ I’ve never been able to relate very well to that one, I understand the logic behind it but I never connected with it because it seems like a bit of a mood-killer to think of your last day on Earth, unless you’re on a mission to the moon of course, that’s just awesome.
The problem with imagining every day is your last is the pressure to do enough, to make it count, and I think that pressure trickles through into our normal day-to-day lives. It can feel like you need to achieve something or do something to validate yourself or your choices. It can feel like you need to have something impressive to say to people when they ask you questions about your life. In truth, nobody but you needs to be satisfied with the answer to questions like, “What did you do on the weekend?” and, “How’s your love-life/relationship going?”
Still, pressure seems to find a way of weaselling itself into your life. Doesn’t it know, we don’t want no scrub!!
What if we started treating every day like it was great just the way it is, even if it was just mediocre or shitty! What if, instead of wishing away all the bad things and feeling shitty about them, we gave our bad days a big old hug and embraced them for the messed up, piece of poo they are. What if we found a way to appreciate the small moments that occur on those mediocre days, moments like finding an abandoned Tim-Tam in the back of the freezer, getting a text from your best friend or managing to refrain from slapping a co-worker with your keyboard.
There’s a lot of time
spent wasted thinking about what someone else is doing, what they’re achieving or what they have. This line of thought usually means you’re going to start drawing comparisons to your own life and allow mean little thoughts to creep on in, thoughts like, ‘Why don’t I have a job like that?’ or, ‘Why doesn’t anything interesting ever happen to me?’ Instead of wasting time on distractions like those, how about we pour all that energy back into ourselves and use it to appreciate everything we have. Maybe it’s time to simplify and cut out the over complicating crap, the distractions and the noise and focus on ourselves instead.
Do you remember in primary school, when you had to bring something in for show and tell? There was always pressure associated with it, you had to find something interesting to bring in or you wouldn’t be cool. So you spent hours digging around the house, trying to find something, anything, that people would find interesting. Finally you find something marginally acceptable until, sitting on the floor in your classroom, you watch in horror as one of your classmates proceeds to show and tell a slideshow presentation from their family vacay to Disney Land, while all you’ve got is a crumpled photo of you and your dorky brother on the log ride at Dreamworld. Stupid Dreamworld.
But mate, hold on, Dreamworld is awesome and that photo is awesome too! The camera at Dreamworld didn’t take that photo so your show and tell class could own it and remember the moment, it took it so you could remember it. It’s your moment and it’s fantastic! Rather than feeling lame, thinking ‘Why didn’t I get to go to Disney Land like stupid Brittany?’ what if you thought, ‘This photo is hilarious, my brother’s so dorky, that was a fun day.’ It is what it is.
Sometimes future plans become a badge of honour when you’re talking to someone, these plans can act as a countdown clock and a distraction from all the great things happening right now. Have you ever asked someone how they are and had them rattle off a list of things they’re doing in the next 12 months? You’ll probably find the things they listed are big events, future plans they’re counting down to like a holiday. Why did they list those? Possibly because the day-to-day things are considered boring and unimpressive, they may feel average if they told you their plan for the rest of the day was to go home and watch a Mad Men marathon.
All this focus on future plans is distracting and it’s wishing away valuable beautiful time. Sitting on the couch having a Mad Men marathon is great too, you know! If you’re exhausted from running around after your kids all week, catching up with lots of friends or a hectic week at work and all you feel like doing is watching movies, then good for you! You go, Glenn CoCo! Own it! Don’t feel bad about it, it’s a bloody great plan and you should feel great about it. Don’t gloss over it, take the time to appreciate the fact you were kind enough to yourself to do what you really wanted to do with your time. After all, you have to take good care of yourself because you’re kinda the most important person in your own life – without you around, you wouldn’t get to appreciate any of the great life moments, like finding free wi-fi and Magic Mike 2!
There’s no way every day can be amazing. Some days are going to be incredible, some are going to be average and others are going to be really, really hard. If we stop over-complicating things by thinking we have to do something or have something amazing to share and, instead, make time to appreciate the simple moments of joy, we’ll surely start to realise we have all those wonderful things we’ve always wanted in our lives already, a series of beautiful moments that bring us happiness we’ve been overlooking. Remember, happiness doesn’t have to be grande to count.
Watch: our ‘Bali for first-timers’ video
Phoebe Lee is a travel writer and award-winning blogger with a love for storytelling. Phoebe creates practical, fun and engaging written content designed to inspire and energise travel-lovers and dreamers. Follow her and Matt’s adventures at home and around the world, right here on Little Grey Box and through Instagram, Facebook and YouTube.