Sweet Simplicity

Ironically, my first blog post in 2020 was Keeping Surprises in Your Plan, which discussed how the unexpected can impact us. Suffice to say, I couldn’t have imagined the surprises we had in store. I won’t bore you with a recap, because nobody needs that. 2020 was lousy, to put it politely, and I don’t think anyone who’s lived through it is ever going to be nostalgic about it. Rather, I’m seizing the chance to look ahead in my final post of this infamous year, but I’m doing so with a different perspective than you might anticipate.

2021 has a lot of pressure on its shoulders, with hopes high that the vaccines it looks to bring will wake us out of this global nightmare and usher in normal conditions. Be assured, I want to see that happen, too. However, if this ordeal has taught us anything, it’s that we have to be flexible in our outlook on life. So, what if 2021 disappoints? How can we keep moving when the world seems like it’s standing still?

For starters, we need to maintain a balanced view of the future. Sure, optimism is great, and we need to have things to look forward to on the other side of something like this. That said, an overinflated water balloon is bound to pop sooner or later, which can also happen to our expectations. If we’re not careful, they can get too high, and the slightest nip from reality will thrust us into a free-fall. To spare us that, we’re better off taking a cue from author Michael J. Sullivan: “When you expect nothing from the world—not the light of the sun, the wet of water, nor the air to breathe—everything is a wonder and every moment a gift.”

In keeping with these words of wisdom, I’ve come to appreciate the value of simplicity, both throughout my life and through my experiences from this crazy year. Many people give simplicity a bad rep, equating it with terms like meager, ordinary, or even low-class. When someone tells you that you have simple tastes, it could mean they think they have higher standards than you do. Is that the case? Is simplicity the low point on the measuring stick?

If you want my opinion, no, it isn’t. To me, simplicity represents what really matters; it’s the foundation without which nothing else can exist. For instance, you can’t build a house without ‘simple’ nails. Is the house better than the nails? Yes, it provides warm shelter where nails couldn’t, but how would it function without them?

Similarly, we shouldn’t deem the simple things in life as insignificant. They make everything else possible, and when that ‘everything else’ fails us, those simple things are there to piece us back together. It’s all too easy to take them for granted, but we realize their incomparable worth if we lose them.

To illustrate this, think of parents, whether you’re one or not. They remember and cherish their child’s first word, no matter how short it is or how incorrectly it may be pronounced. When it comes to the most elaborate word the kid says as his/her vocabulary progresses, though, that’s typically forgotten, unless it’s part of a memorable story. Indeed, this is just one of many meaningful aspects of life where the supposedly simple matters far outweigh the more complex ones.

Thus, when we start longing for those sweet extras that we’ve had to give up this year, let’s do an honest evaluation of the past. Are we defined by the fleeting hours we spend on a beach vacation or at a blood-pumping dance party? Or, isn’t it the ‘simple’ conversations with a loved one, the ‘simple’ moments of laughter, or the countless other ‘simple’ pleasures that make us who we are?    

Also See

This is the Year…

One Day at a Time: More than just a Classic Sitcom

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