Wednesday, 2 March 2011

A Life of Awesome

The other day, when we were out browsing at a local bookstore, my son happened upon The Book of Awesome by Neil Pasricha. In case you are unfamiliar with it, it is a collection of life tidbits that are often overlooked, such as when you are in a long lineup and suddenly a cashier opens up a new checkout.

We were in a bit of a hurry by the time he found it, but it stayed with him and he proceeded to share some of his favourites with us over dinner. His enthusiasm was catching, and we found ourselves coming up with "awesomes" of our own.

The first true spring evening. Catching a glimpse of a shooting star. Unloading the dishwasher to find no rejects. The delicious smell of line-dried bedsheets. Being greeted at the end of the day by your favourite tail-wagging dog. The first crocus buds peeking through the snow cover. The shy grin of an infant over her mother's shoulder. Being the first onto the skating rink after the Zamboni. Buses that connect. All green lights on a drive when you're running late. The taste of a cold drink of water on a hot summers day. The sound of waves on the seashore.

I could go on. And the thing is, I should go on. All too often we fail to appreciate the small wonders in our daily lives. We forget to stop and smell the roses (or bedsheets--take your pick!), and yet, when it all comes down to it, it's those small, seemingly insignificant miracles that hold so much importance in our lives.

You've probably heard the phrases "count your blessings" and "stop and smell the roses", but for us, it was this "Book of Awesome", with its obvious appeal to a tween boy (which is awesome in and of itself) that really made us stop and put those things into words to share.

We are now working on our own "awesome lists". With all the rushing around that we do in our society, it can become all too easy to focus on the negative, to work on problems that seem urgent and forget to balance that with the positives that surround us. Shifting the focus to the positive in our lives is helping us put things into a more balanced perspective.

Your list will likely be a little different than mine, but chances are we will have at least a couple of things in common. These are things that bring us together in our experience, despite the fact that we may live in different countries, be of different cultures, religions etc. and never meet. It is part of the shared human experience. We are not so different as it might appear after all.