I just love it when a chore turns into a mini-adventure! I needed to pick up some apples to make an apple crisp yesterday, and though I could have gone to the grocery store for them, we decided to run up to one of the nearby orchards to get them instead.
It’s not a long drive, the scenery is beautiful, and the apples are already picked. All we have to do is pick out the ones we want, fill up our bags, pay, and we’re out the door. Of course, whenever we go, it’s never just that….
They have goats and donkeys outside that usually come running up to the fence so you can pet and feed them, there’s a fat bunny outside in his hutch, and there are lots of locally-made jams and salsas, local honey, and oh yes, apple cider slushies. I almost always feed the animals, but yesterday they must have just eaten because they showed almost no interest in us.
Going up there is just a small thing and we don’t usually stay for very long, but it’s something I look forward to every year. It’s one of the little things that brings me joy.
When we live with a chronic illness like fibromyalgia it’s important to learn to appreciate the little things. We often spend so much time grieving our “past life” and what we used to be able to do that it blinds us to the small things we can still enjoy and do. Don’t get me wrong; it’s important to allow ourselves to grieve our former life so that we can move into our new reality. We just don’t need to get stuck there.
Sure, things are different, and we may have to do things on a smaller scale, but they can be just as enjoyable. So how do we move into finding joy in the little things? Here are a few things that have helped me:
- Replace an “I can’t” with an “I can” statement. For example, “I can’t go out hiking on our gorgeous trails” could become “I can take a drive and enjoy the scenery, or visit the orchard, etc.”
- Pay attention to the small things that give you a sense of peace, wonderment, or joy.
- Spend some time exploring activities that fit within your energy levels, allow you to participate without pain, or just make you feel good while you’re doing them.
- Rather than being too focused on results, just enjoy the process. Sometimes we get so results-oriented that we forget to take joy in the journey.
There are times that I still grieve my old life and the things I used to do, but learning to enjoy the little things has made me more accepting of my new normal and less critical of myself when I can’t do everything I could before. I’ve found some new things that give me sense of purpose and enjoyment, and I continue to grow through the process.
What are some of the little things that give you joy? Has learning to appreciate these small things helped you move forward?