We’re All Beholders, And It’s All Beautiful

In a group chat I’m in, someone asked, “Where have you found beauty in your day?” It was only eleven a.m., but I already had a list. After I posted it, I realized I’d missed some. This was a regular sort of day; nothing out-of-the-ordinary had happened aside from laundry, a task I’d been putting off for a week and a half or more and don’t particularly like.

This made me think of something that has often crossed my mind when people talk about finding joy in the everyday or appreciating the small moments or what-have-you. I almost feel guilty mentioning it, because it sounds like a brag, but I really don’t mean it that way. I do find it interesting, though, from a sociological and psychological standpoint: what does it say about me that finding beauty in the mundane has never been a challenge, other than that I’m lucky?

I remember a time, several years ago, when I was riding in the car with my husband on a summer day. On the sidewalk was a woman, smiling, holding a radio to her ear and bouncing to the music as she walked. I thought she looked cute and fun and happy, and seeing the delight on her face made me happy, too. I admired her.

My husband’s reaction? Scorn. Not at her happiness, not directly; he scoffed that she was holding a radio to her ear instead of buying a newer, nicer one with headphones. I was stunned, and offended for both of us. Here was someone I thought would understand the kind of simplicity and in-the-moment joy on this woman’s face…yet he didn’t even seem to notice how beautiful that moment was. What does that say about him?

I think that was the first time I really pondered how different perception can be, even with things that seem to be completely, unmistakably positive. It was very telling, for both of us.

Don’t get me wrong–I have bad days. I have days where everything sucks so hard that I’m sure it’ll never stop. And sometimes it doesn’t stop, to be honest. There are circumstances in my life right now that make me feel helpless and hopeless and defeated, that I can’t do anything more about than I already am. I’m under a great deal of stress and am not always cheerful. But a long, hot bubble bath still feels the same. My cats’ toes are still perfect. All the wonder that surrounds me every second of every day is still there, waiting, even when I’m too distracted to appreciate it. To me, that’s just one more thing to be thankful for.