“Enjoy the little things in life. for one day, you may look back and realize they were the big things.” –Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.
My wife and I are on different morning schedules. During the week, I get out bed at least an hour before her. By the time she gets ups, I’ve walked and fed the dogs, made our coffee, had breakfast and started my morning routine. On the weekends the difference is even more pronounced as she likes to sleep in a little more while I keep to my same schedule.
This Saturday morning was a little different. For no particular reason, my wife got up much earlier than normal. I had barely started my morning coffee. Hungry, we made us both a nice little breakfast. Sitting in the morning room, watching the day come to life, we sat and ate, talked, laughed and shared our coffee together. It was just a simple breakfast for a happily married couple who have spent many years together. It was also something else. It was perfect.
Sometimes I read posts on Medium about how to be more productive, successful or focused. It would seem everyone is starting something up, networking, getting their side hustle going. I get it. As an entrepreneur, I definitely understand the time and effort it takes to get a business off the ground. Luckily for me, I made my bones many years ago. I’m older now and I don’t have the inclination or need to keep moving and shaking like I used to. Now, I relish the small things, things I missed when I was younger when my focus was different and I was motivated to be successful. These days I really enjoy sunrise every morning, roughhousing with my dogs, and a cold beer on a hot day. And of course, a simple little breakfast.
I still work hard and I’m still focusing on growing my business. But gone are the days when my business was my work AND my hobby. I have a different perspective because I have learned that the benefits of being successful are far less fun than the process of becoming successful. While material things have never interested me anyway, now I firmly believe experiences are the only things that really count. They can be grand experiences like international trips and expensive wine dinners, or they could be small things. Perhaps something like a simple little breakfast.
Today’s generation is far wiser than my generation was on the concept of wealth and status. Millennials I work with are happy to rent rather than be locked down with a house and a mortgage payment. They hike Kilimanjaro and plan destination weddings while my generation was saving their pennies for a down payment on a house. I recognize a house is an investment for retirement, but really, shouldn’t we be investing in our life today more than our life in the future?
Based on people’s profiles on Medium, I’m probably older than most users. So I recognize that it easy for me to preach on value of enjoying the “little things” when I’m not in the same stage of life as most people. But my only real regrets about that time of my life come from not stopping to smell the roses occasionally. Little things have more value to me now because I know they are fleeting. Have you ever noticed that at someone’s funeral, people are more apt to comment on the quality of life of the deceased rather than their accomplishments. Why do we wait until it is too late to recognize that? When will we realize that it even the little things matter in our lives? When we recognize the value of something as perfect as a simple little breakfast?