How I Learned to Love Life
With Valentine’s Day being the only holiday that falls during its 28 days, February is generally considered the month of love. Usually this means romance, chocolate, and generic, often cringe-y cards. But what about other loves? Aren’t they worth celebrating? And can celebrations happen without Hershey's and Hallmark? I propose that we go in search of alternative loves.
This February, why not fall in love...with life? I know, I know. But hear me out: Consider a simple, mundane event and find the extraordinary in the unremarkable. Take a moment to think about the things you may have otherwise overlooked. Experience life passionately, rather than passively.
So, I’m sitting on the quad outside my English classroom, supposedly working on a project. It’s the time of year when mornings are cold and afternoons grow warmer with each passing hour. Over time, the working silence changes into casual conversation and the focus drifts to a boy coming out of the band room. My friend knows him but can’t remember his name. She calls him over anyway and they begin to talk about photo class. He walks over to us and crouches down to chat.
In his hands are two fistfuls of grass. When I ask, he explains that he played his saxophone while the teacher was talking, so he was sent outside to pick 300 blades of grass as punishment. As he talks about the instruments he plays and what it’s like to be in marching band, another guy walks over. Also a band kid, he registers the grass and comments that the better grass is actually found in the other quad.
I thought nothing of this entirely routine encounter. But after some reflection, I think about this experience in a different light. I realized not every English class is given the opportunity to be held outside. I realized that the warmer weather marks the decreasing gap between now and summer. I realized that it is not every day one gets to observe a conversation that feels like a scene straight out of an indie film. And I realized that the grass in the other quad *is* superior.
Understanding that every—or, OK, almost every—experience is meaningful has created a newfound love for life. Several months after sticking to this mindset, I have found myself collecting stories. Some quirky, such as this afternoon, and others simple, like me listening to ‘80s music in my car.
On paper, they seem insignificant; but in retrospect, each created a certain kind of joy that wasn’t there before. So collect your chocolate and your cards this month—but remember that it really is the little things in life that have the power to make us happy.
By Lydia Whitman, 17