41: Celebrate the Small Stuff

41: Celebrate the Small Stuff

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: The Power of Positive

Celebrate the Small Stuff

Why not learn to enjoy the little things — there are so many of them.

~Author Unknown

It was the first Tuesday in November. Election Day. And my kids were out of school. So I was all set for a relaxing day of enjoying the nothingness of having a day off. Until Amazon.com came along and spoiled it. “As someone who has ordered Chicken Soup for the Soul books in the past,” the e-mail read, “we thought you might like . . .”

“No, Amazon.com, you are wrong. I would not like that book,” I wanted to say. “Because I submitted a story to that book. And if you have it for sale and I never heard back from Chicken Soup for the Soul, then that means my story wasn’t picked.”

So I sulked for a moment, then got over it and went to the gym.

While at the gym walking on the treadmill, I thought about a blog post I had read the previous day. The author frankly stated that if you don’t learn to be happy along every step on your writing journey, you will never be happy. The author basically outlined a writer’s journey from finishing that first manuscript all the way to making it to the top of the bestseller list. And how, at each step, we soon forget how happy we were at that previous step and quickly begin looking forward to the next step. But we never take enough time to celebrate the “now.”

After thinking about that blog post, and in light of the fact that Amazon.com had just burst my bubble, I made up my mind to celebrate everything I had accomplished so far in my writing career. And the first thing I needed to celebrate was the fact that I had already been published in Chicken Soup for the Soul, even if I didn’t get into that particular upcoming title.

But I didn’t stop there. I also called my husband and told him we were going out to celebrate that night. I said, “I know we haven’t accomplished anything big. But we’ve accomplished a lot of small things this year, so we need to celebrate.” I even listed the things our kids had accomplished thus far in the school year, so we were taking them out too.

His response: “Cool.”

When I got home and told the kids, my middle school daughter wanted to know why we were going out on a Tuesday night. I told her, “Just to celebrate our small successes.”

“Like what?” she wanted to know.

So I listed some of them for her, such as her older sister (a senior) scoring high enough on her ACT to qualify for scholarships; for herself having her first basketball game that week; and for her little brother (a kindergartener) miraculously surviving school.

She replied, “Shouldn’t we at least wait until Thursday to see how I do in my first game?”

I said, “Nope. We’re celebrating the fact that you made the team.”

She shrugged. “That’s no big deal.”

“Did everybody who tried out make the team?” I asked her.

“Of course not,” she said.

“Then you have something to celebrate,” I said.

But some amazing things happened that day after we made the decision to go out and count our blessings — more blessings came our way. That very day, I received an e-mail from Chicken Soup for the Soul notifying me that another story I had submitted made it to the final round of selections for one of their other books (my second that year!). That evening, during our celebration dinner, my husband placed an envelope on the table and told me to open it. Inside was a bonus check from his job! After dinner, I checked my e-mail, and, believe it or not, got notification that I had received money in my PayPal account from a writing contest that I had won a couple of months before. All these things in one day — the same day we, as a family, decided to celebrate the small stuff!

But the blessings didn’t stop there. I had been praying for new living room furniture for a very long time. Over a year, actually. It might have been two. But I refused to get new furniture using credit or any type of payment plan. I just continued to pray and hope. Well, wouldn’t you know it? In one single day, with the bonus check and the money from the contest, I had enough to buy new furniture — without credit!

And, I believe with all my heart that those blessings were a direct result of our decision to count our blessings and be happy right now rather than waiting for our big payday to come and make us happy.

I have heard that Oprah once said, “The single greatest thing you can do to change your life today would be to start being grateful for what you have right now. And the more grateful you are, the more you get.” And that, my friends, I can testify, is the honest-to-goodness truth.

~Linda Jackson

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