Sweat the Small Stuff

Enjoy the little things in life, for someday you will realize they were the big things.

When I read those sixteen words on a sign recently, I couldn’t help but pause for a moment to contemplate the truth they held. If you really think about it, society teaches us that the small stuff is not important. In fact, how many times have you heard the sentence, “Don’t sweat the small stuff”?

But when you really look back at your life, how many times is it the small stuff that made the biggest difference? In your relationships, it is often the smallest things that are remembered. That’s why I say sometimes it is very important to sweat the small stuff, so long as the small stuff you’re sweating over is really worth it. And there in lies the lesson I took away from the sign over the Christmas holiday.

My boyfriend and I were going to make treat baskets for our family members as gifts. This was our first Christmas together, and he is the first boyfriend I have dated whose family has truly welcomed me in with open arms. For that reason, he wanted us to bake the goodies at his parent’s house, where his mom could help.

I love my kitchen. I love that I know where every little thing I need is at. I love the sound my mixer makes, and I love the smell of my apartment after things start baking. So I was less than thrilled at the idea of having to pack everything up and drive it 20 miles across town to another house to bake.

My house wouldn’t have the smell of Christmas cookies this year. I would have to use someone else’s things. The list of excuses went on and on, and you can bet, my boyfriend heard every single one of them. When we got to his house, no one was even home. They were out Christmas shopping. So you can bet I really let him have it then. I was making myself miserable just thinking about it, and I was doing my best to make him miserable too.

Then my first batch of cookies went into the oven. They went flat. The second batch – flat. The third batch – flat! I was frustrated. And then his mom and dad came home and to the rescue his mom came. It appeared the baking soda I was using was expired, and that meant the cookies wouldn’t rise. Using self-rise flour solved that.

Soon we were laughing and having fun together as a family. The house had the delicious smell of homemade cookies and chocolate candy. We had so much fun that we got together again the next night to make more goodies. With music playing in the background, we crafted unique candy creations. We read recipe books together, and we bonded.

Guess what, the house still smelled like homemade baked goods. The cooking stone we used at his parent’s house way out baked my old airbake pans at my apartment. We came up with creations I never would have made using just the things in my pantry. And most importantly, we had fun together.
Then I remembered that sign I had read, “Enjoy the little things in life, for someday you will realize they were the big things.”

How silly I had been to fret over such frivolous things. I had been sweating the small stuff like my house smelling like cookies and using my own mixer. I had been selfish in the details I had been sweating over. And what I almost missed was how the small things like laughing over melted chocolate with family were way more important.

For it really is the little things in life that make the biggest difference. What about you? Do you spend your time sweating over the small details in life that really don’t matter, or do you take time to enjoy the small things in life that really do matter?

[Ed. Note: Post your favorite “small thing” memories below. Need more help on your relationships? Get it in our Living Every Minute audio cd program.]

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Jeri Nicholson January 2, 2011 at 7:52 pm

I would like to make it my goal this year to treat everyone that I meet and those that I know as if those persons have only 12 hours to live. I would love to make every moment very special and filled with as much love as I can give. I believe that is a good start on sweating the small stuff. It’s almost all small stuff – sometimes some big things happen – but usually it’s just small stuff.

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