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Savoring the Little Moments of Life

4 min

Last weekend, I wrote out a comprehensive summer bucket list. My fun and exciting list of to-dos left me feeling overwhelmed and paralyzed. Too much outcome orientations and expectations.

Where is the joy in busyness?

Why do I feel obliged to make life busy? I’m sick of it and refuse to add to the pressure that already exists. Note to self: enough is enough. Don’t get caught up saying yes to things that don’t actually feel in alignment. I can choose JOMO: the joy of missing out.

According to this Dutch scientific study, much of the happiness that is created from a vacation is from the anticipation of it rather than the actual trip itself. It’s like how the build-up from a foreshadowing in the movie trailer creates more intrigue than actually experiencing the movie itself. There’s no denying that is currently happening to me as I live up my last ten days on island before two months away in the Netherlands and mainland America.

I refuse to let the Tasmanian Devil run over my summer like a wirling dervish and drown in deluge of despondency. Instead of checking things off my bucket list like it’s a to-do list, I want to notice the little moments, like

  1. Hearing the sound of cicadas and realizing it was the rain cloud chasing me on a sailboat right before sunset.

  2. Escaping 90-degree heat into the car to sit in A/C from a food dense day full of Thai food and ice cream.

  3. Lathering sunscreen onto a stranger’s back for our first date surfing

  4. Feeling a chilling sensation while breathing on the droplets of sweat that glisten and glide over my chest in the downward-facing dog as gravity takes its place

  5. Discovering the hidden airport lei stand and witnessing a daughter ‘lei’ her father whom she barely knows

  6. Nostalgically living through my best friend as she dips wafers frosted with peanut butter into milk with her dad as she did 20 years ago.

  7. Laughing while looking heinous in the mirror with the wisps of hair curling up like a wingding font from sailing all night.

  8. Watching a parrot peruse along the rear rail of the birdman’s moped as he takes off after being long overdue an oil change.

  9. Seeing a rainbow and learning how they only appear when the prism of light is angled appropriately with the sun low on the horizon

  10. Sipping a La Croix in my favorite rice shorts while walking Winchester, the most chill pupper I’ve ever met

I’m not going to try and cram all of it in. That’s setting myself up for failure with no space to breath in deeply. There’s no need for that pressure. Like the prolific author, Ryan Holiday wrote in 35 Lessons on the Way to 35 Years Old, “You don’t have to be anywhere. You don’t have to do anything. All that pressure is in your head. It’s all made up.”

I caught myself doing this after I had a fun first date last week. It was the first time in over eight months that I would’ve loved to experience it again.

There was chemistry. He was interested in similar things that I was like entrepreneurship and the ocean. I even felt comfortable enough read him my journals aloud. After it was over, I didn’t linger too long in appreciation of that experience before leaping like a leapfrog to thinking about the next time. I immediately fixated on what we would do next instead of noticing the actual blissful feelings.

My roommate called me out about doing this: “Focus on how you feel right now. Fully enjoy everything that went down just now. Feel what you’re feeling right now.” And so I did. I soaked into gratitude for the joy. She saw me bloom like a flower that night as I sang Mamma Mia, danced naked, and ate Phish Food. It was a celebration.

Life is a culmination of those moments that make life the beautiful present that it is. As writer Mari Andrews writes in How I navigate expectations vs. reality, “… it’s about learning how to seek evidence for a benevolent universe, rather than look for ways that I’m being let down. It’s about learning the value of a minute, rather than the grand total of a whole day.

So what’s next?

Screw the summer bucket list. I’m not going to check things off a list. I’m going to live and savor the little moments.


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