A content, elderly man of a tall but slightly hunched stature came in last Friday afternoon to meet with my boss about his annual tax return. He brought with him his mostly empty black backpack from the 90’s, his lovely elderly wife and a craving for something sweet.
On his way up to the second floor he must have just been daydreaming about the little shiny jewels sitting on the reception desk – as soon as he walked out of the elevator he told the receptionist who he was there to meet with and proceeded to take a few candies from the bowl. As he spotted my boss walking down the hall towards him, he swiftly took another handful of candies.
The meeting went well, it was his adventure of the day – but it wasn’t over yet. On his way out he shared some pleasantries with the receptionist, took another handful of candies and went on his way. The elevator was taking some time to arrive at the second floor, so the elderly man put this opportunity to good use and unzipped the front pocket of his backpack, looked at the receptionist and said “If you don’t mind’, by this time his hand was full of candies, ‘I’m just going to take a few more.” With absolutely no shame at all, and a huge grin, he shoved his over-stuffed hand into the open pocket of his backpack dropping some on the ground.
From the elevator his wife called out “Darling, you’re dropping them everywhere!”
“Oh Jeez. I sure am!” He looked up from the candies on the floor, turned to the receptionist, smiled a gruff but kind smile and said “I’ll get those.” On his way back up from picking the candies up off the floor he looked at the receptionist again and said “Oh, I just can’t get used to this body!”. Before zipping up his backpack he took a few more candies for good measure. Once he had everyone laughing at his jokes his wife called him to the elevator and down they went.
Well, not 15 minutes later the elevator door opened with a ding and out walked the same man, with a coy smirk on his face. He slowly but confidently walked to the desk, and placed both his fragile hands down for balance. He looked at the receptionist and as he winked he said “I seem to have forgotten a glove. Did you see one?”
“No, sir. There haven’t been any gloves left here. Would you like me to ask -”
“No, no. No need for that.’ He eyed the candy, looked back at the smiling receptionist and said, ‘I’ll just take a few of these and be on my way!” And with a wink he stuffed a handful of candies into his trouser pocket and caught the elevator back down to his waiting wife.
This is one small part of one day in this man’s life. This is one little story of a man who has lived (and continues to live) a long, prosperous life. He has children and grandchildren, has traveled the world, he’s happily married and long retired – he has accomplished a lot. And though his body is slowing down and the little things in life are all that’s left for him, he is more happy than ever.
If only we could all be so happy, and enjoy all of the little things in the fun, hilarious, amusing way that this man does. If a fun challenge for you is to find out how many candies you can take from one reception desk in the span of an hour because that will make you happy – then DO IT! Because no matter what else happens, in the end the little things are what you’re left with. They’re the best memories, the most moving experiences, the most influential people. So make the most of every moment – because the little things are really the big things.
Living life to the fullest doesn’t mean doing huge adventurous trips every year, or learning a new language and teaching abroad; living life to the fullest is to not waste it. Living life to the fullest is appreciating every emotion you feel no matter how hard it may be. Feel every feeling, notice what’s going on around you, and appreciate what you have. Smile, and just breathe.