I just can’t believe that this is the end of October. Like next week, we hit November 1. How is that even possible? We have had some consistency with the weather here finally. Days have definitely been a little cooler, windows are cracked just a hair at night as I’m a lover of the cooler night temps and my trees are slowly shedding all of their leaves. I do miss the anticipation of Halloween with no littles at home but my waistline is doing a happy dance that we have zero Halloween candy in the house. Not wishing the remaining days of October away by any means but I am embracing the last whispers of the month and looking forward to November (might be someone’s birthday…cough, cough…jus sayin…).
As we roll into the upcoming holiday season of birthdays (hint hint), turkeys, gift giving, celebrations, I am always a little contemplative and seem to get a little more so every year. And this year is no exception. I feel at times like a hamster on the wheel, constantly on the go, racing to get from one thing to the next. And I keep trying to remind myself that I need to slow down. Step off the wheel for a moment. Fluff up my fur and stretch out my limbs and just be. And sometimes - sometimes, life intervenes for you and shoves you off the wheel. And life did that to me this past weekend.
I was on my way to go see one of my golden gooses and had been literally racing around all morning - BIG things on my horizon. I had a date with the iron mistress, dogs to let out, meals to make, a surprise 50th birthday party for a beautiful friend that is impossible to surprise, so on and so forth. I got a phone call from my Rob in the midst of all it and it went like this:
My brother and his wife, both whom I adore, had taken a weekend off from their busy lives with three kids and flew out to see me and my family. To watch their nephews play football. To see their niece on family weekend and see her campus. Flew across the country to come see me and my family. And trust me when I tell you I fell off the hamster wheel immediately.
Because all these big things I had going on…they were important for sure. But what I was reminded of this weekend is that although those big things in our life matter, are of importance - it is a million LITTLE things that are the heartbeat of our days. Those inconsequential moments that at the end of our day and the end of our days, those million little things are THE big thing. So as I countdown to the remaining days of my 46th year, allow me the luxury to honor the little things in life.
My Million Little Things
What do I mean about a million little things? I guess it’s different for everyone but essentially, it’s those moments, those small minutia of our days and our life that create something positive, a moment of laughter. Give you a moment of pause. Put a smile on your face. A blip on the radar screen where you feel grateful. And often times we encounter those things and are so busy hustling on our wheel that we bypass the simple basic gratitude for them. This isn’t a complete list but it did make me go back through my day to day life and focus on what moments bring me joy.
A hot cup of coffee
I am far and away a morning person. It’s probably when I feel most at peace and I approach my mornings literally as the start of a new day most of the time. And the simplest, smallest, littlest joy in my mornings is my cup of coffee. A little peppermint mocha creamer, a strong cup of coffee and that first sip - it’s a little taste of heaven. And if I’ve thought ahead enough to set the timer on the coffee maker so that when I come down it’s what I smell - it truly is the best way to start my morning. I don’t feed the dogs, talk to my Mom, check the sites - nothing…until I have had that first sip of coffee.
Working from home
I started working from home back in 2006. Took out a business license, opened up my own little ‘shop’ and dipped my toe into the Sole Proprietorship Ocean. Was told by many - you’ll never make it work. You’ll be targeted by the IRS. So on and so forth. And I’m making it work. Making my own hours. Sitting at my desk in my bathrobe, doing laundry in-between tasks, working early, working late - you get the idea. It has enabled me to be there for when my family needs me, having to ask no one for permission, worry about vac days or sick days. I don’t make a lot, you will never see me on Forbes Top 500, I’ll never have a fleet of fancy cars or take a bunch of luxury vacations. But not everything can you put a price tag on. The little things like time - they are priceless.
A Patient Partner
I’ll be honest - I am not ‘easy’. Easy to live with, easy to always be around, easy to love. I am what some would consider ‘high energy’ and sometimes the only way I communicate is by stomping, slamming cupboard doors, dirty looks. And my Rob - his patience is key. I was a little bit of a wreck on Thursday. My house wasn’t clean, I had to rearrange my afternoon to go pick up my brother and his wife, my plan for the day was not going as planned. As I was racing around the house (stomping), Rob sat patiently. Periodically asking me if I needed help (which I did but I was NOT about to ask for it). He finally said, “Hallie - your brother isn’t coming out here with white gloves on. He’s coming out here to see YOU.” And he was 100% right - I was so caught up in ‘making it nice’ that I was removing the joy from the surprise. Don’t overlook or under-appreciate the simplicity of a spouse that is patient. That understands. That lets you roar and get the demons out - despite how incredibly annoying it must be for them.
I absolutely have a sense of humor that ties right in to my brother. We sat around Thursday night having drinks after the two plus hour ride home from the airport and shortly after 9 pm he got a phone call. One of those special phone calls from someone asking his political opinion. He then put the call on speaker and the Casey/Hallie show began. He adopted some sort of Irish/British rogue and we proceeded to answer the questions together - like tag team wrestling. Fast forward to Friday late morning as we are looking for a part in Home Depot to install our new stove. We get sidetracked by the Halloween masks and spent a good 5-10 minutes trying them on and taking selfies. There is so much to be said for taking the time to embrace your ‘silly’. Life is serious enough. It cost us nothing, no big expense. But those few minutes, those little bits of laughter - we gained a memory.
Beers and Besties
There is so much to be said for letting your hair down and grabbing a beer with a bestie. Not talking a lot of dough, just some time, a few bucks in your pocket and a willingness to let your hair down a little. And a bestie or two. Those moments may not solve all the world’s problems but I’ll tell you what - they open up the door to feeling not so alone at times. To reminiscing about ‘remember when’. To making plans and sharing stories and connecting with other people in your life that matter. Some of the best moments in my life have been sitting on a bar stool, a pub chair, a cold beer in my hand and a bestie by my side. There is a always a ‘to do’ list - and sometimes we need to put the list away and go have a beer with a friend.
There is nothing like family. There really truly isn’t. It is the one thing that I think so many of us take for granted and don’t fully appreciate what it is we have until it is no longer there. Life changes in the blink of an eye and if you don’t take a moment out of your every day and just say a little thanks for those people in your life that are your core, that are your foundation, your reason WHY - than you need to start. Billions of dollars in the bank may buy you lots of big things. What they don’t buy you is the small things that come with family - the security of knowing no matter what, someone has your back. The ties that bind you to others by shared memories and experiences. The protective love of a sibling. The safety net of a parent. A friend that is the sister you never had. A million little things that create the biggest foundation in your life.
Yep - I know. A really little thing. But there is nothing like coming home after a long day, tired, maybe even a little weary. And there is a meal in the crockpot. Maybe nothing fancy maybe something totes Michelin 5 Star. But a meal nonetheless. A ready made meal to share with family, with friends that is ready to serve up when you walk in the door. Probably seems a little silly to some but for me, it brings me some comfort.
Although at times they drive me bananas barking at the squirrel that sits in the tree right outside my office, my doggies are crucial to my life. Yes - my house is going to probably have to refurbed from the inside out. New carpeting. Hardwood floors replaced and let’s not get into how every single windowsill has been chewed. And the dog hair….but they are a presence when I am home. They make me laugh. They love me every single minute of every single day no matter what. Even though they eat the same thing day in and day out, they approach every meal as if I’m serving them a filet mignon. They have destroyed a lot of big things in our house but it is in part because of a million little things surrounding them that our house is a HOME.
There is nothing like a house that smells good. Especially this time of year. It’s kind of like waking up to the smell of coffee. I always try to have a candle lit first thing in the morning and early evening. Not only is the glow from the wick peaceful for me but I love the associated smell of the candle. Whether it smells clean, festive, fall-ish - what have you - it makes me feel good. No big expense for candles, a small home accessory - but it makes me feel that sense of ‘home’.
One of my most favorite little things in the world is clean sheets. I change our bed two to three times a week and spray the sheets with lavender linen water. There is nothing in the world like slipping into a bed with freshly laundered sheets. Nothing. Not a ‘little thing’ for some and that’s totes okay but for me - it instantly relaxes me and soothes me.
I love bright sunshine on a cold day. It’s as if Mother Nature couldn’t decide which season to showcase so she decides to delight all of your senses with the warmth of the sun, the rush of cold air to your lungs, that middle ground between needing a little more than a sweatshirt but not quite a winter coat, a hat but no gloves necessary. How often do we overlook it? It’s a minor thing, costs us nothing, maybe doesn’t go exactly with our plans for the day but it is still a beautiful day full of possibility. A little thing - sure. But I guarantee you that if you take a moment to simply enjoy it, it’s attitude altering.
Hold Me Close
I am a hugger. And I have learned a lot about hugs in the past year. There are hugs that say I’m sorry. Hugs that say I’m only doing this cuz you’re making me. Hugs that scream I don’t really like you right now. Hugs that weep with I miss you and don’t forget me. Hugs that reassure you that every little thing is going to be alright. Hugs that say life is so hard right now, momma. I see time and time again that people hold themselves back from a hug, maybe aren’t comfortable, release themselves and the other person from it too early. Hug your children, your loved ones with both hands, holding on for five more seconds. It costs you nothing but five more seconds, an inconsequential amount of time, a minute ‘thing’ in your schedule. But the return on that investment - significant.
Your Health is Your Wealth
People have got to wake up to this one and given recent challenges, I am ever more reminded as to what a precious gift our health is. Health is our most valuable asset. There are countless people that would give anything to get out of bed and feel decent - not perfect, just a solid 50%. And how many of us take it for granted? Haven’t had a check up in years? A mammogram (cough cough - you know whom I’m talking about)? Get it done. Live your life to the absolute max that you can - just take care of the vessel.
And A Million More
I could go on and on obviously because when you take the time to really think about it, there are a million little intangible things that make a major impact on our day. A phone call from a friend, a random act of kindness, a warm fire and a cold glass, an “I love you” text from your child or your spouse. A flight across country to surprise your sister because you know that her children are her pride and joy, that her family is her heartbeat and that someone taking the time to show they care and want to be there is the greatest gift she could ever receive.
This weekend was a much needed reminder of how it is a million little things in my life that make up my life. And those little things? The little moments? They aren’t little. They are of such magnitude that I was overwhelmed with gratitude. And a little out of sorts the past 24 hours, a little shamed that I have allowed myself to get caught up in negativity and behavior that I don’t need nor do I want in my life. So I’m shoveling off the porch, wiping my lens and shaking out my tail feathers. This girl is going to keep her focus on what’s important, what matters, what fills my gratitude jar.
Look around you. Look beside you, inside you, ahead of you. Embrace those million little things in your life that make up your life. That matter. Because doing so, my peepers, it will open up your eyes to a million more.