I often get side-tracked by the big stuff. Bills. Debt. Fear of the future. Not knowing what I want to be when I grow up. The meaning of life.

It can feel really overwhelming.

Sometimes it takes focusing on the little things to  help me forget the big scary stuff for a while and be present in the moment.

My kid is obsessed with making ice cubes. He hauls a folding chair into the kitchen and fills the trays, sliding them gingerly into the freezer so as to not spill them. He closes the door and smiles, knowing he is being helpful. He does this randomly throughout the day. I find the folding chair and never know if I’ve just missed a completed good deed or a simulated wrestling match. I might have missed it, but there’s one thing he makes sure I never miss.

I’m obsessed with sunsets. I think they are the most beautiful gift in nature, next to children. My Instagram account has at least one sunset for every day that doesn’t have oppressive cloud cover. That isn’t an accident. My child is a little alarm clock. He tugs at the sliding door and says “Mommy! Check out the sunset. It’s beautiful! Come look!” He beckons me near and we stand on the patio, staring at the sun dipping below the horizon. We witness beauty together. It’s a short interlude in a busy day and almost the only time where everything is quiet we are together.

I say almost the only time, because the other silence I savour is the peace and quiet of my bed. I drift off to sleep in the darkness. Just as I begin to dream, I hear the smallest sound of a creaking door and a series of footsteps. I feel the mattress lower slightly on the edge and then the methodical plodding of my only child. “Did you have a bad dream?” I ask. He nods. “What was it about?” I prod further. He smiles mischievously before draping an arm over me and whispers, “Not really! I just got lonely” and he settles into sleep knowing I will join him in slumber taking in the aroma of his hair.

The smell of his hair, the ice cubes, the sunsets: these are the little things that keep me from fixating on the big stuff. Bills, debt, fear of the future, not knowing what I want to be when I grow up and the meaning of life can be overwhelming. Sometimes I just need a little perspective. Sometimes the big scary stuff can be held at bay with a cold beverage, a beautiful scene unfolding and the smell of something sweet. There’s joy in being in the moment, and I’ll drink to that!

What helps you maintain perspective?


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