A couple weeks ago, I walked by a man in the street. I actually see him quite often in my neighbourhood. He’s always smiling and always has something nice to say to passerby – sometimes it’s a joke, sometimes it’s a compliment. He is also usually asking for help – a bit of change if you can spare it – and for this reason, people mostly ignore him. Some days, I just smile and some days, I give him a few coins. That day, I had a toonie in my pocket and as I was giving it to him, someone made a comment that stayed with me “You care too much. People take advantage of that.”
Rain, cloud, rain, sun (!!), wind, rain…. and repeat. April is turning out to be a bit all over the place – kind of like me actually as it is a busy month. There’s been a couple time when I’ve gotten overwhelmed but I need to keep reminding myself to stop, take a breath, smile and go on… Even with all the craziness these days, I don’t want to miss out on those beautiful perfect little moments – whether it’s randomly finding the perfect card for a friend or that little ray of sunlight that came out on a grey day at just the right moment.
Sometimes the smiles I see are subtle and may only make me smile, a burgeoning tree or a fun set of brooches (I get it – it’s not for everyone) but sometimes I’m know for a fact everyone else is smiling too. When I went for a walk the other day, I found a bright yellow smiley face – now don’t tell me you’re not smiling right now!!
About a year ago now, I started this blog to share my project, Smiling at Strangers. I never thought what I did was a big deal or could be of interest to people but my husband suggested I write about it. I like to write and so I thought “why not?”.
I read a quote this week that made me smile. “Enjoy the little things. For one day, you may look back and realize they were the big things.”
It reminded me why I write the 5 smile series. It really is all these little things that create a life full of happiness. An impromptu picnic with friends, a fresh bagel for a weekday morning brunch, a quiet sunset walk after a long day – all those things might seem rather mundane at first but if you stop and appreciate them, you’ll quickly realize that they are the moments in life to be thankful for.
My sister’s wedding was last weekend. It was a beautiful day full of love, family and friends. In the mist of having my parents in town and helping with the preparation, I had to make sure I took some time to slow down and enjoy the fact that my baby sister was getting married. I took a couple afternoons off for quality time with family and spent the day before the wedding with my sister to take in each little moment. It’s hard to not get caught up in the to-do lists and last minute details but my favourite time was our family dinner the night before. We all sat down and enjoyed one of Moe’s specialty, beer-butt chicken. I’ll have to share the recipe one of these days but for now, enjoy this week’s smiles!
Earlier this week, I headed out for my second Kits SIDEWALK Supper Project On the menu: my go-to summer meal, panini with a summer salad. I had a bit of extra time and also baked chocolate chip and peanut butter cookies (because who does not like cookies right?).
The last month of so was a bit of a downward spiral. I let one little aspect of my life completely take over. I started focusing on the negative and I just could not see the little things that made me happy anymore. I did not want to smile anymore. I did not want to blog. I did not want to bike or bake or do any of the things I loved. I just was not feeling it. I was completely drained!
Moe and I love to explore new spots in the city. Of course, we have our go-to places and neighbourhood favourites but it’s always fun to try out something new. Sometimes, we’ll go for a walk and just discover a cute little cafe and other times, we’ll go somewhere specifically to try something out. After a bit of a stressful week, there was nothing I looked forward to more than trying a new ice cream place Moe had been talking about. Lik is just as much about eating ice cream than about watching them make it with liquid nitrogen. It was fun to go with a few friends before a walk on the sea wall.
Looking back at my smiles this week, I noticed that the little surprises are what make me smile – an unexpected invitation to dinner at a friend’s house, a peek-a-boo view of the mountains while biking. Living in the present has allowed me to be more aware of my surroundings and that means I’ve noticed more and more of those unexpected, yet completely lovely little moments. I appreciate them to their fullest and that makes me smile even brighter.