Enjoying the Simple Things

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Image from wallcoo.net

Image from wallcoo.net

The Beginning of New Adventures

I was a week away from going back to visit California, my home, after only five months of moving to Arizona; I had to plan my vacation ahead as my mind filled with ideas of grand adventures.

My trusty Evernote account open, I made a note titled “California Plans”. I would have named it adventures instead but that thought hadn’t crossed my mind yet, also it would have been cheesy.

The list included activities such as group karaoke, snowboarding, fencing, rock climbing, and several other things I have never done before; I longed to tackle everything in two weeks. It was going to be an amazing first return home.

December 15th arrived and my buddies picked me up so I could surprise my grandparents who weren’t expecting me yet. The surprise goes as planned then I made plans for the night to meet up with them and some others.

The Realization

Somewhere between midnight and 2 while just sitting around talking I realized it wasn’t grandeur activities I wanted the most. No, it wasn’t adrenaline pumping activities one after the other that I had longed for once I was home; I realized it was the little things in that moment. Us all sitting around at someone’s house, talking nonsense, candid, and just debating philosophically as we ought to do, bliss.

Now of course, I did many things that just happened to have been on my list anyways. A few buddies and I enjoyed Tango dancing, although without any female partners like we hoped for. I saw snow for the first time in my life as I slipped around in Big Bear. I went hiking at the Top of the World then enjoyed the rain in several beaches that were on my list shortly after hiking.

One of the more relaxing nights was our drive down Pacific Coast Highway for 90 minutes or so with shorts on, windows down, at 1 in the morning; we were freezing. All of this was amazing, don’t get me wrong, but it wasn’t the activities I loved.

Doing all this made me realize it was the company that surrounded me during every minute that made things enjoyable; it was the “overpowered” group together again.

Missing What I Took for Granted

Despite all I did, what I remember was enjoying the simple things I took for granted; those things I missed as I sat here 350 mile away.

Maybe the most enjoyable activity was walking to Coffee Bean and Starbucks with old friends, sharing conversation and common interests with each other. Or was it hitting tennis at night with my friends who have gotten much better in my absence? Maybe even the rekindling of old friendships that have died down in recent years?

Either way, the most memorable of my trip wouldn’t have been snowboarding, fencing classes, playing Beach Tennis, nor would it have been trying out a delicious burger at Slaters 50/50. Not at all, because when I look back and think about December 15 – January 1, I think of the little things; the things that made me smile and reminded me why I love California.

What simple pleasures in your life do you take for granted? Perhaps you’ll come to realize, like I did, that it was never about the activities that made my life amazing. Figure out who makes you enjoy every moment and hold on to them tightly because you never know when they’ll be 350 miles away.

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Vincent Nguyen is the author of Self Stairway. He was a full-time college student, a freelancer, and an intern for 3 different companies, but more recently dropped out of school after landing his dream job with Empire Flippers.

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2 responses to Enjoying the Simple Things

  1. I was a Boy Scout leader in Oklahoma for about 5 years. Each summer we spent a week at camp… without hot water for the showers. Back home after camp, the first thing I did was to jump into the shower and enjoy the hot water. I was euphoric with joy. After that first summer, for over 20 years, I begin each day with a prayer of appreciation. “Thank you, Lord, for this hot water. Thank you that it feels so good on my body.” There are many other, simple things that I enjoy in life, but each day for over 20 years has begun with that prayer of thanks. And when I think of the technology that brings hot water to my shower each day, it is really not a simple thing. It is an amazing thing.

    • That’s great that you truly learned to appreciate what others take for granted. I definitely take hot water for granted and it is rare to realize how fortunate I am for such a luxury. It’s always the simple things that escapes us. Thank you for sharing, Bob.

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