Embracing the Miniature Moments

By Samantha Young

The unfaltering procession of time has always been my deepest fear. I strive to make my life count, and the fact that I must continue on, even if I don’t feel ready to, terrifies me. Late last year, I panicked upon realizing that I was only a few short years from being twenty. This realization created a feeling of dread in me so heavy that I downloaded an app that would count down to the end of my childhood and the impending start of adult responsibilities. However, after an exorbitant amount of time worrying about the approaching doomsday, I have begun to realize that I shouldn’t view the present as something I am in fear of losing, but instead simply enjoy it and be grateful that I have it at all. Anxiously watching a clock count down instead of enjoying each day is the only thing that will make that time truly lost. 

To maintain my new outlook on my dwindling teenage years, I decided to start the “Good Thing List” as a New Year’s resolution. At the end of every day, I started to write down at least one good thing that had happened to me, no matter how unfortunate that day had been. I began the list on January 1st with “New Year’s dinner with my family” as my first entry. It started as something I would have to sit and think about, selecting one moment from my day that was “good enough” to make my list. Big, important events like convincing a music festival to donate tickets to my fundraiser for blood cancer or seeing my grandparents for the first time in a while were events that I considered to be “good things.” Because of this mentality, I often was opposed to writing down small things, thinking that having waffles for breakfast wasn’t something that could determine if a day was good or not. 

Some days it is hard to find a happy moment and prevent myself from wallowing in negativity, but every day I look for at least one small thing that I enjoyed, and there’s always one to be found. On February 7th, a day that turned out to be miserable, the only good thing I could think of was that I had made my friend laugh during physics class. Even though that is something that seems trivial, it made my day better and I was proud of myself for focusing on the positive, even at times when it started to get hard. 

After doing this for a while, I found myself becoming significantly more grateful for all of the good things that happened to me, and often wanting to write down multiple every day. There are many great moments I am glad I took the time to document. Some of them are big events, such as the success of my Grandpa's emergency heart surgery in April, something I celebrated being able to add to my list that night, but also many small moments, like a kind compliment on my new sweater in February. I had no idea when I started this list how much I would end up valuing it and the things that it has taught me. I have become undoubtedly more grateful for everything in my life, especially the small things that used to slip by unnoticed. I now choose to embrace my compilation of miniature moments—from the familiar warmth of my mom’s hugs to the simple pleasure of watching the sunset. Adding to this list every day has also made me realize that I have far more good days than bad days, and it reminds me not to let the plethora of good days stand in the shadow of the rare bad days. My "Good Thing List" has inspired me to delete my countdown and encouraged me to treasure every day of the teenage years I was so afraid of wasting.