We’re all storytellers at heart, and we’re always interested in stories. Some stories are happy, some are sad, some are fun, some are boring. We tend to naturally seek out the interesting stories, the ones that make us sit up and take notice. But even boring stories have their purpose, and can teach us about the art of storytelling, even if it’s about what not to do.
So what kind of story am I here to tell? Well frankly, I don’t have one. I suppose I could tell my story, starting from my childhood and going through the various twists and turns of my life to the point that I’ve reached now, but that’s not really much of a story to tell. My life has been fairly uneventful compared to most, more a series of reactions than actions.
I have seen war (not up close and not with any active involvement), illness, unemployment, death and many tragedies that can be found in the most epic of sagas. But there was no noble tragedy, nothing that would stir or inspire the soul to be lifted. Tragedies in real life are just ugly.
But it’s not all been about sadness. There were many happy moments in my life, there are. Joy brought about from first loves, from making loved ones happy, from personal accomplishments. I’ve seen my share of triumphs, even if it doesn’t always feel like there have been that many. But for me, joy comes from the small things in life. A particularly tasty sandwich, or knowing that my favorite TV show will be back on air soon. Is it silly? Yes, I suppose it is. But we have to take our happiness where we can find it. If we spend all our lives waiting for that big source of happiness, the thing that will make our lives complete, we might just discover that we’ve been searching for phantoms all along.
What is happiness? What makes a man truly happy? I don’t know. I feel pretty happy right now, but that could change at a moment’s notice. So why not revel in the small things? A dream job may end up being only a dream, but I can still take some sense of pleasure and satisfaction from the work I do now. Wouldn’t that be a form of happiness? Finding true love or a soul mate seems to be a bit of an uphill task, especially as the grey starts to creep around my temples and sideburns. But finding somebody that I care about, somebody I’m willing to please, even if only for a short while, can be a blissful thing.
So that’s how my story goes I guess. Little tales, bite-sized moments that are snatched and stitched together into the tapestry of life. I suppose that’s also why I enjoy short stories. An entire world is created, lifetimes lived in just a handful of words. It’s basically how I try to live each day, focusing on the small moments instead of trying to chase something to big to catch.
It’s not for everyone, really. Some people cannot be content with what’s around them. They always have to follow the larger objects, chase after goals and dreams that may seem impossible. There are those who have made them possible, who are hailed as geniuses and revolutionaries, but there are countless many whose names have been lost to history because their pursuits ultimately ended in nothing. It’s something I used to aspire to myself actually. And if I were to be totally honest, I cannot escape the need to chase that elusive beast known as ‘happiness’. The thought of finding true love is still somewhere in the back of my mind, even if it’s not my main focus.
And there it is, the story of my life. The details are numerous and don’t really need discussing right now, though it’s a story I would tell if asked (I almost feel like a grandfather rambling on about his old war tales), but the long and short of it is that I am living each moment, whether good or bad, and trying to experience it as if it were the best or worst moment there could be. Having a worst moment every day may seem a bit overdramatic, but it makes the good moments all the better that way. After all, when you’re expecting darkness, the smallest sliver of light can feel like sunshine.
Oddly enough, this tale is not yet done. I keep meaning to finish and sign off, but these damned fingers just keep on typing. I’m starting to run out of steam, and platitudes. How many times can I emphasize the pleasure of small things? It’s just something that needs to be experienced instead of being read about. So I guess what I will say is this: think of the tangible things in your life, and savor them. Savor them to their fullest, because you don’t know how long they’ll be there, and they’re more real than any dream or memory can be. Be on the look out for your goals, chase your dreams and try your best to make them real, but don’t lose sight of the world around you in the process. It never hurts to stop, take a breath and smell the roses. Alright, so I guess I did have a platitude left after all. But that’s it, really.
Live for the small things, and bring them together to make your story, whether it be happy, sad, fun or boring. As long as you have a story to tell, somebody will listen. And sometimes, that’s all it takes to be happy: sharing a tale.