Take a Minute, It’s The Little Things That Matter

Nowadays, it seems like 24 hours just isn’t enough time to complete tasks anymore. For instance, I used to wake up at about 5 am, run out the door at 5:20 am then start my 1.5-hour commute to my current construction site in Fort Lee, NJ. Once I arrived for my 7 am start time, I worked for 10 hours because I had to get that sweet, sweet overtime, then hopped back in my work truck for the 1.5-hour commute home. Once I got home, it was usually already around 7 pm. That left me right around 4 hours to do my daily routine of cooking a quick meal, doing a few projects, spending time with friends and family – or at least trying to – and going to the gym. Some days it feels almost impossible to accomplish all these tasks, and the only thought that keeps me trudging along is the sweet relief that the weekend brings.

I often thought that I had it rough, even though I knew somewhere out there someone was skipping sleep that night to work two 12-hour shifts back to back. I just began to feel so overwhelmed and cheated out of my own time. If only I didn’t work construction, If only I worked closer to home, If only I became an astronaut, If only I bought BitCoin back in 2004. If this, if that, if, if, if, if, if. Think of any complaint under the sun that you could possibly imagine, I said it. I didn’t mean to be that person who only ever complained, but I felt so stuck in my routine, almost as if I was trapped by it. I wanted to make a change, but I was too secure in my career to do anything about it, even though I was so unhappy. Then one day, I watched a video on how animals see the world.

No, really, this is the turning point of my story, and it’s about a video on how flies, dogs, cats, and elephants perceive reality. To summarize, every animal “sees” life go by at different speeds. Dogs and cats live life in slow motion, flies and other insects live in bullet time (think Neo from the Matrix), and elephants live life at 1.5x speed.

The idea that every living creature experiences life differently really blew my mind, but after thinking about it for a while, I realized that the same applies to people too. I started to become conscious of the fact that I live on this planet with several billion other people who all lead unique lives that are vastly different from one another. There are people out there who would have killed to be in my position, yet I was, whining that my life was too busy.

After realizing how vast life is and how small my problems were in comparison, I started to seek out little details throughout my day that I would otherwise overlook when I was in my frantic and irritable state. I began to enjoy the sunrise as I drove into work and the strawberry-blonde clouds that formed as the sun would set on my way home. I began to enjoy the progress I made on my projects at home, even if they were only small steps at a time – at least I was making progress.

I kept this up for a while, always looking for the little bit of excitement in the monotony, the beauty in desolace. Eventually, I was placed on a job site much closer to my home, which allowed me more freedom in my schedule. However, I actually began to miss the early mornings and the commute to Fort Lee. I genuinely looked forward to seeing the often overlooked instances of life happening around me.

The moral of my story is that no matter how complicated your current situation is, there is always something that will make it bearable. This something doesn’t have to be big. It can be as small as seeing a flower sprout from a pot or hearing the birds chirp as you’re walking outside. The beauty of life is seen when we slow down to really appreciate it. It is easy to get whisked away in your duties and responsibilities and become tunnel-visioned, but all it takes is just a few moments every now and again to appreciate the world around you and help you feel that maybe your situation isn’t as bad as it could be.

Twenty-four hours is not enough time in the day to accomplish everything in your busy schedule, but it doesn’t have to be. The most important factor is not time. It’s perspective. As long as you have this ability to find the good in hard times, then you won’t need twenty-four hours because you’ll have all the time in the world.  

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