words | anonymous

Why does one only realize what one has until it is gone? One should continuously notice the little things in life and reflect on the impact that they have on our wellbeing. They are what provide comfort and relief in our otherwise hectic lives. To stop and appreciate them is a form of necessary self-assurance.

“Enjoy the little things, for one day you may look back and realize they were the big things.”
- Robert Brault

I’m crouched on my chair and there’s some music pounding in my left ear. My fingers are gingerly grasping a pencil poised above some calculus problems, and my laptop screen is brightly lit. It’s 2 AM, my eyes are drooping, my gum is stale, and I’m not paying attention. My mind is elsewhere. My thoughts are flying around and they’re not pretty. They accumulate to the extent that I can’t think of anything else.


There’s so, so much wrong with you. How are you going to fix anything? Your future...


This feeling of being overwhelmed comes from something that throws you completely off balance. It probably stems from just one insignificant thing but it opens an entire ocean of pessimism. It makes you feel like everything has changed and you felt it creep up on you but you didn’t truly realize it’s impact until you started to hyper-analyze everything. You can't stop thinking about how it'll get worse and there’s absolutely nothing you can do to fix it. Everything bad about your life accumulates in your thoughts and smacks you in the face, and you feel like you’re a moldy, rotten shell of what you used to be. It’s overwhelming.


In cases like this, it’s easy to think that I’m the only person in the world; after all, I can only be trapped in my own mind - no one else’s. My mind is a thrilling and dangerous place; it can take me on wonderful adventures or it can damage my self-esteem until I don’t know how to fix it.


I’m not exactly the nicest person to myself. More often than not, my head is loaded with wistful and nostalgic musings; I wish for things I cannot have. My thoughts get tangled in insecurities and I find myself swimming, drowning, in negative contemplations. It’s blinding; a thick veil is placed over my head, and I can’t easily find my way out.



However, I have tools that can lift me out of my despair. Granted, pessimism always finds a way to slip back in, but at least these privileges make me understand that in the grand scheme of life, whatever adversity I am going through is not permanent. Furthermore, it’s my choice to allow such thoughts to dominate my life in the first place or to look for the silver lining. I remind myself to notice the little things because the little things are my ultimate saviors.


My healing begins with observing small kindnesses - small kindnesses are what keep my sanity intact. They can come from the most unimportant of actions, such as arbitrary small talk or even smiles from strangers. Recently, I was running late to class and boarded an overcrowded bus. An elderly woman with wispy silver hair and a wrinkly face smiled at me and gestured to the seat next to her. It was a simple action and she probably didn’t think too much of it, but it made my whole day.


If that fails, I look to humor for distraction - something to make me forget. As long as I have something to laugh at, my entire demeanor changes. At this point, I’ve already forgotten why I wasn’t feeling well in the first place. Ultimately, laughter is the best medicine.



Lastly, a method for me to confront the pessimism in my head is to attain tranquility. Sometimes I need to be alone in order to try to filter out bad thoughts. I reach this tranquility when I pray Fajr (the early morning prayer for Muslims) in total darkness while all my roommates are fast asleep. It happens when I watch the colors of sunset fade from a vivid gold to a hazy orange and a waning red to a midnight blue. It happens when I lean my head out of the window and gaze at the bright stars against the beautiful backdrop of the sky. It happens when I listen to the rain pour relentlessly onto the ground. It happens when I simply have the ability to feel undeniably alive. It’s these things that I need to appreciate more. They make me feel calm and put my soul at peace.


To preserve these feelings of peace, all I truly need to do is to understand the real reason why I’m here. I need to understand that I must not let any irrelevant feelings weaken my resolve. I should live my life without regrets; I should learn and love and think and breathe, but I must not forget my purpose.


Finally, I should know that I will always have one person to always want the best for me - my mother. Altogether, these resources should help lead to my own self-acceptance.


With that, I can do anything.


photos | sania elahi