“appreciation” –noun, recognition and enjoyment of the good qualities of someone or something.
Good day fair people of the world. Today is a bit of a filler post (one much longer than expected, I do apologise). It’s not really a real update on anything, more a quick discussion on something that’s been on my mind for a long time. That topic, obviously, is appreciation. Not just of the “big” things like a roof over your head or the ability to read or running water. I mean the little things as well.
A very long time ago I uploaded a post called ‘my dog’ in which I spoke about staying alive for the little things you don’t always think about; like to spend time with your dog. That post came from a very dark place and this one is sort of similar in that sense but this is more directed at appreciating those small things than simply living for them. (Please note my ironic use of the word simply, I’m feeling ironic today).
So onto a list of, maybe stupid to some people, things that I appreciate and try to live for.
- Painting my nails. While this seems silly and superficial, I appreciate this act for several reasons. As I’ve also mentioned before, colour is very important to me and my nail colours mean a fair bit more than most people realise. I spent a lot of time painting my nails black when that’s how I felt, I spent even more time painting them yellow when I was trying to stop feeling like that. At the moment purple is a pretty significant colour to me and that’s why they’ve been that for the past week. Besides this, it’s also a point of interest. I work in a position in which conversation is important and I was often surprised by how many people (notice that I did not say women) noticed my nails and it sparked a conversation. I will never forget the gentleman staying at the hotel who, when checking out, looked at my newly painted yellow nails and said definitively: “That’s a beautiful colour, it brightens up the room”. On a smaller scale, the act of painting my nails is an incredibly calming thing for me to do and I may repaint more often than necessary for this reason. Nail polish is also cheap, it’s not some extravagant object like my makeup or my books that will empty my bank account if I buy more than three in a day. So it’s become what I call a “cost-effective care method” which is important to me.
- Pizza. Do I really need to say anymore? While many will argue that a thin base Margarita is “not a pizza”, this is a very small pleasure I take very seriously. It’s been a source of fantastic memories not only with my some of my best friends in high school but with someone close to me now as well. There’s really no long explanation to this one: it’s a pizza.
- Tea. Again, this one may seem stupid, but this one is actually one of the biggest for me. I have a teacup tattooed on my right wrist and, while it is for the wonder that is a good cup of tea, it’s also what tea represents. I was raised by British grandparents in a particularly British fashion. This included at least six tea breaks a day and, for this reason, one of the first things I learned to do in a kitchen (and probably the only thing I can accomplish in the kitchen) is to make a cup of tea. I don’t like to brag, but I am acclaimed for my tea-making skills at work and am proud to say that many people request my tea. Besides this, tea breaks have always been a big deal to me. My aunt and I have most of our conversations over a cup of tea while my cousins are at school and this is when I feel closest to her, making tea for my mum has a similar feeling, making a round of tea with my Nanna was one of the biggest responsibilities when I was younger and, most importantly to me, my best friend and I became friends through our many, many, many tea breaks while studying. As odd as it sounds, many of my friendships through my teenage years were made during tea breaks in the boarding house. While in matric (final year) my best friend and I spent more time making tea in our kitchen right next to her room than studying and I will always maintain that it was those tea breaks on which we based our friendship that kept me going through that year.
- Rescue dog adoptions. Stray dogs are a source of absolute despair for me and those adoption stories and videos break my heart in the best way. We adopted one such dog, she’s had a terrible history it seems, and to see her grow more and more comfortable in our presence and in her new home, is something I can never appreciate enough. Seeing it happen to others is almost as heart-warming and just as smile-inducing. This is something that seems more obvious but I feel isn’t appreciated enough or noticed often enough and felt the need to mention.
- Letters. As much as I love and appreciate WhatsApp and Instagram and Facebook for their convenience in staying in contact with my friends further away, a letter in an envelope is something I love to receive, even from people around me who have no reason to do so. Cards and letters and long essay type notes are an instant source of happiness, regardless of content, and I appreciate not only those letters but those wonderful friends of mine who are willing to put in the effort to write them.
The final one doesn’t get a number because this is a big one. This is one that has kept me alive on some of the most difficult of days. It’s a very obvious one this time: people.
While I do mean those lovely people that smile at you from behind a counter and wish you a pleasant day and those kind people that pick something up that you dropped and give it back to you and those wonderful people that help to steady you when you trip (an act that is necessary more often for some of us). Those strangers who can make your day with one action are definitely important and something I do appreciate.
Obviously, though, the people I appreciate the most are those that are directly involved in my life on a more regular basis. I recently lost some of that appreciation for some of these people, one in particular, and felt myself slipping into a drop with no way out. While sitting in the bottom of my well I realised that I had lost that appreciation. I was in a happier place in my life, good things have been happening regularly to me and yet here I was sitting alone in a dark hole and hating the fact that, despite having very little to be sad about, I was. I repeated this frustration to three people very close to me and got varied responses, all pointing out I was not in the wrong, though. One, in particular, stuck with me and his general response to everything I was saying was as frank as I always expect from him.
He is the one I felt I had lost appreciation for. I have known him for four years and, somehow in that time, we lost all forms of barriers. I get the truly wonderful stories of his awkward public boners (interesting backstory to that, another time, though) and his chronic fall-in-love-with-everyone issue and he deals with my increasingly filthy jokes and terrible puns and sits patiently through my existential crises. Over the past several months, something happened that we lost touch but last week he turned around and reminded me why he is as important as he is and I remembered why I appreciated him as I did. I also realised that I hadn’t been appreciating him as much as I should. Which is what sent me on this post. After spending three hours yesterday arguing over television shows and then, somehow, using those shows for dating advice (it was Doctor Who, I don’t know how we managed it either) I turned around and straight up told him that as well as the fact that I loved him and I didn’t know where I’d be without him, blah blah gag gag etc. It turns out, as often happens with us, he was feeling the same way and told me I was a dork and he hated me and I then I told him he was an idiot and that was the end of our sappy moment and I’ve never felt so appreciative of something in my life I don’t think.
So while that was an unnecessarily long story, I just wanted to share my newest appreciation reminder to remind everyone else to appreciate those things that you may not realise you need to. Appreciate that cup of tea your mum made you and that dorky message someone sent you at three in the morning to annoy you when you wake up (out of love) and appreciate people driving to fetch you and how excited your pet gets when you walk in the door and being able to hug your best friend in person and getting changed into your pyjamas as soon as you get home because these are the things you forget to appreciate sometimes but also the things that make life all the more pleasing.
I hope you all have a lovely week ahead x
[Yellow (yes yellow) songs for some listening: Red Blood Stains (Hello Beautiful Remix), Chambers / How Would You Feel, Ed Sheeran / Beautiful Noise, Daniel Baron ]