Somewhere in Japan

Dispatch № 96: In Small Pieces

Happiness can be found in small doses if we look for it. The train this morning, for example, isn’t so crowded and for that I am grateful. There’s still about a zero percent chance of my getting a seat, but at least nobody’s elbow is embedded in my larynx.

Things get overwhelming. Problems seem impossibly huge. Things seem to get the better of us and leave us no time to recover before walloping us again. Sometimes we have a hard time finding anything to be happy about.

Some people say meditate. Some people say take a few days off and relax. Some people say to practice gratitude.

There’s a tendency for the active practice of gratitude to be most enthusiastically espoused by unforgivably chipper self-help types with capped teeth and generically named spouses.

This morning, Jess and I were giving thanks for the lovely new vinyl siding and it just set such a wonderful tone for the whole day.

Still, it does help to acknowledge and be thankful for things. It does shift your mood. Even if they’re tiny things and you’re struggling to find them.

  • These shoes are comfortable
  • The plum blossoms are lovely
  • That cat looks like it has a mustache

And then the little things remind you of other things. Bigger things.

  • I haven’t gotten the flu or even a cold these last couple of years
  • I like my coworkers and students
  • I get to live and work in the coolest place in the world
  • That cat seriously looked like it had a mustache

And maybe you’re still not all that happy today. But maybe that’s OK. I’m OK, you’re OK, and even if your office is flooded in a freak gravy-shipping accident, still tomorrow morning the sun will rise.

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Picture of David R Munson

David R Munson

Photographer, essayist, wanderer, weirdo. Everything is interesting if you give it an honest chance to be.

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