July 2003 
Small Things...that make up the hours

I constantly amazed at how little there is written about what it takes to run and manage a human life.  There are so many elements that make up our daily existence, it is very easy to get overwhelmed by it all, even just to get the basics covered sometimes requires a huge amount of organization.  In my own little world I have tried to pare things down to be as simple as possible.  Yet it can still feel so complicated when one of the areas goes without tending for too long.  We often feel guilty for not being able to handle it all, I think we all know what it feels like to avoid issues.  I often liken it to walking a large pack of dogs, you think everything is under control and all the dogs are moving forward in the same direction, but then a fiesty little pup sneaks around the back and bites you in the butt!  "But I thought I had everything under control," you exclaim.

Congratulations on the mere fact that you have made it this far.  You are a success because you exist!  This living thing is not that easy.  Yes, there are many days when your approach may be less than graceful, your self-esteem resembles a balloon that has been stapled to a fence, and you feel like your goals might just be a distant figment of your imagination. I know, I know, I have it too.  It is easy to forget that we are all going through this life day to day, sometimes seeing our own pain in others, and sometimes not.  It is the same pain.  Could we not just stop for a moment to celebrate our mere existence as a major accomplishment?  Or what about looking at the really little things that happen to us and making them the goals. 

I have a little three year old  friend who came up to me last week with a huge beaming smile.  When I asked him what he did that day he boldly prounouced, "I made a poo in the potty!"  This statement was met with cheers and yells of celebration by all in attendance.

I thought now there is a great example of celebrating the simple things. 

Now I know you must be thinking that it might be considered less than appropriate if you walked into your important business meeting and boldly announced to your co-workers, "I made a poo!", while expecting to be heralded with cheers of approval.  But there are many other areas that as adults we can start to be a little more appreciative of.  Maybe someone should start a new line of "self-appreciation greeting cards", some possible titles:

I know this may all sound slightly tongue in cheek, but I am actually being quite serious.  We all have a tendency to downplay the little things that we do.  It's about time that we allow ourselves a sense of accomplishment on a daily basis.  It's time to start a new movement. I recommend that we all go out and buy a bunch of coloured star stickers to reward ourselves with.   The first five should be awarded automatically just for existing.

This article was inspired by the MONTHLY LIFE BALANCE CHECKLIST that was posted on Another Girl at Play's June newsletter. 

This is not the article I set out to write today, but then, it never is.  Two stars for me for sitting here and not controlling it too much.

Keri Smith is a free-lance illustrator and native of Toronto.  A graduate of  O.C.A. she has a wide following of clients in North America.  She currently resides in a “magic” cottage in Flesherton, painting, illustrating, creating, writing, and living out loud.  Her new book "Living Out Loud -an activity book to fuel a creative life" is being released in Fall of 2003 by Chronicle Books.