Life is made up of little things

Bigger isn’t always better and most times it isn’t what we need

By Shilpa Bhasin Mehra

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Reuters file photo
Reuters file photo

Published: Sun 19 Dec 2021, 10:52 PM

Small is the new big. Comfort is the new smart. Little drops of water make a mighty ocean. The little things we overlooked or took for granted is what we yearn for now. So why become so obsessed with getting a big break that you miss the little chances you have along the way?

If you go away today, your loved ones will remember the little things about you. The way you smile, your scowl, what you would have done or said in a given situation and the way having you around made them feel. When we strive to realise our dreams, we sometimes forget the little things and how they’re just as precious. As we wait for the “big” moments to come – university applications, graduations, career opportunities, marriage, children – life happens.

As a sharp contrast, look at nature. The sun rises and sets and the flowers bloom. Nature doesn’t stop its cycle just because we’re too busy to notice. When we’re surrounded by our loved ones, we might as well enjoy their presence.

The media sells us bigger is better. Bigger hotels, bigger malls, bigger houses, and bigger everything. Bigger isn’t always better and most times it isn’t what we need. Bigger is sometimes a nightmare and a whole lot of unnecessary extra work.

I got this narrative on Whatsapp and really want to share this with you, because it seems so apt for the present time.

A little boy said to a little girl: I’m your BF! That means Best Friend. As they later dated, the young man said to the girl: I am your BF! That means Boy Friend! As they get old, they sit together and watch the sunset on the front porch, and the old man tells his wife: I am your BF! That means Be Forever! When the old man is dying, he said: I am your BF. That means It’s Bye Forever! How the meaning of same abbreviation changes with passage of time during different phases of life.

The last two years have changed so many definitions/meanings for us. Now, going out doesn’t mean many miles away, it could mean the balcony or garden. Now getting ready can also mean for a family wedding on Zoom and a birthday can be celebrated with loud cheers across the globe on your computer screen.

Food could be coming from your kitchen or a cloud kitchen serving (so they say) home cooked food. Office attire could also mean track pants. Office venue could also mean your own room. Our world has downsized from the globetrotting one to our living room. Actually, a new dictionary is needed more than ever now.

The world right now is smaller than ever. One small global village. We never thought business/work could be done without business travel, meetings and conferences. We could not imagine being told not to come to office, but to work from home. The same HR Manager who watched what time we entered and left office, was now giving us work ethic lessons for work from home (WFH) mode.

Hybrid was a term I learnt in school for plants, but now on LinkedIn it implies a mix for office and home working arrangement. Lockdown made us think of prisons and detainment centres, but could we every imagine the world in a lockdown with borders of countries sealed? When we were in school could we ever imagine being told to stay at home and study? Unimaginable yet it’s happening now.

We humans are simply fantastic in adapting. That’s why we have survived for centuries, through world wars, tsunamis and pandemics. Now it is survival of the most adaptative and we prove ourselves yet again.

An experience, whether good or bad, always teaches us something. The ongoing experience of Covid-19 has been life changing. We have survived it. School, graduation, marriages, festivals and offices have functioned nonetheless. We have got PCR tests done repeatedly without asking a question; earlier we needed to be forced by some illness to do a blood test. The same people who did not follow traffic rules, have followed the Covid protocol perfectly. Just like the slimming centres, do a before and after pic, we could see the huge difference in our lives, two years ago and now.

Covid has taught us to realise and appreciate the small things that we had forgotten about in the race of life. That is the biggest lesson. The hugs, the smiles, the group huddles, the holidays, the travel, the love and support of family, a dinner with loved ones or hanging out with friends. It is said, we only realise the value of things after they are taken away from us. I hope and pray we don’t need any more lessons to make us realise the value of things that are actually precious. So well said by Frank A. Clark: “Everyone is trying to accomplish something big, not realizing that life is made up of little things.”

Shilpa Bhasin Mehra is a legal consultant based in Dubai and the founder of SBM Consultancy (formerly Legal Connect.

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