People are always telling you that life is about the little things. Those same people are always telling you to let the little things go and focus on the bigger picture. So which is it?
Life is a series of little things that are all strung together to make one big experience. So, in some ways all of those sunsets, quiet moments, perfect mornings, random acts of kindness really are the individual threads that make up the fabric of your existence. In other ways, life isn’t really about the little things at all. Of what import is an individual thread in the complicated weaving of a grand tapestry? What is a single paint stroke to the work of the masters? What is a single decision in the course of a human life?
There are two kinds of decisions, in the world according to me. There are the trivial ones (Paper or plastic? Red car or blue? Grow out your hair or cut it short?) and the monumental ones (Marriage? Kids? Tattoos?). Everything falls into one of these categories, but sometimes it hard to tell which one it is without the all-illuminating lens of the passage of time.
Eleven months ago I made a little decision. I decided to take control of my health and my body. I haven’t really talked openly about it, partially because a lot of people are really inadvertently hurtful, and partially because I’ve been struggling with the unintended consequences of my decision (a story for a different day). But tomorrow is my 26th birthday and in a month my big brother is marrying the woman of his dreams and life is moving on at an amazingly brisk pace and I decided that this is as good a time as any to bring it up.
It’s a little decision to lose weight. Perfectly small and innocent. But it’s a big thing to get it done. I sometimes discount the struggle, the frustration at restaurants, the disappointing weigh-ins, comments from people who are more thoughtless than malicious. It wasn’t a small thing, or even series of small things. As of today I’ve lost 81.5 lbs. I’m not done with my journey, I still have a little more I’d like to lose, but that doesn’t take away from what I’ve accomplished.
My point is this: life happens. You can be swept along with the current, letting the little moments build until you find yourself somewhere completely unknown, or you can set a course and row like mad until you get there. You might get bruised or broken, it will certainly hurt sometimes, and there may be unforeseen costs, but when you get to the other side, you will look back on all you’ve done and how far you’ve come and you’ll realize that you’ve done a big thing.
And that’s what life is all about.