Ever since I was a kid, I’ve loved singing.
I was barely four years old when I first sang in a function in front of 20-30 people. (And by singing I mean screaming into the mic and liberally improvising the lyrics).
But then something happened. As I grew older, I started becoming very self-conscious and shy that I never sang anywhere except in the shower.
Finally, almost a decade and a half later, I started singing more and more outside the shower once I started learning the guitar.
Nevertheless, my shower singing would continue as usual, and I would often dream about singing in front of a crowd in a restaurant and think that it would feel amazing.
And then one day it happened. My dream came to fruition last year when my good friend and I performed in a restaurant for Valentine’s Day.
Our gig lasted for about an hour and a half. It was great to sing some of my favourite songs alongside my friend, and the restaurant owner was very pleased with our performance.
But even though I finally fulfilled a dream I had for many years, my fondest memory from that day had nothing to do with singing or performing.
Once our performance was over, my friend and I headed to a cafe to grab some ice cream.
Almost the entire time we spent in the cafe, there was a cute little girl next to us, probably around three years old, who was prancing around with a big smile on her face.
Sitting there talking to my friend, enjoying some good music and watching the little girl’s adorable expressions made me happy in a way that I hadn’t felt in a long time.
I believe that sometimes we make the mistake of overestimating the joy we can experience from the big things like fulfilling our dreams and underestimate the joy of the simple things.
I know I sure have made this mistake many times in my life.
I remember the day I decided that I had to visit Himachal Pradesh, a beautiful state in northern India.
I was travelling solo in Rishikesh, and somebody I met in my backpacker hostel was telling me about his experience paragliding in Himachal. He also showed me the video of it — and I was like wow! This looks amazing!
Fast forward a couple of years later, I was in Himachal, and I had fulfilled my dream of paragliding.
But to be honest, it was not like what I imagined. It was nowhere as thrilling or exciting as I thought it would be. (I guess it didn’t help that my co-pilot was drunk, but that’s a whole other story).
Instead, two incidents that I recall with more fondness from the day I paraglided is having lunch in a small restaurant and conversing with the owner in my broken Hindi and reading the first few chapters of the Paulo Coelho book Hippie.
So many of us fail to appreciate the little things that can make us happy because we are obsessed with chasing something “special”. And so many of us take what we already have in our lives for granted and postpone our happiness until we finally have/be/do [Fill in the blanks]
But I believe there’s a more fulfilling way to lead our lives.
Instead of postponing our happiness to the future when something ‘special’ happens, we can choose to find joy each day by being present to life and being grateful for the little things.
Whether it’s conversations with loved ones, the pleasure of a beautiful piece of music, the taste of good food, or the gift of the internet – there’s plenty to celebrate and be grateful for each day if we decide to look for it.
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