What happened to the simple things?

Gray Hughes

All throughout life, we seem to be seeking bigger and better things. We want that new phone that does all the things, we want a new car with all the bells and whistles, we want a bigger and nicer house.

Yes, these things are nice and sometimes are needed, but are these material things make our life complete? To me, the answer is a resounding no.

I may not seem like it at times, but I’m a pretty simple person. It doesn’t take a whole lot to make me happy.

I’ve changed a lot since I was younger. When I was younger, I did feel like I needed the new, fancy thing to feel happy. But then I got older and realized that I didn’t really feel happy; that no amount of material gain would ever fill a hole that could only be filled by the simple things.

Take these last two weekends as an example. Two weekends ago, I was able to take a nice, long walk. It was a warm day for February, and I was suffering from cabin fever. My walk led me to a patio where I was able to enjoy a nice, cold Coke. Honestly, it was the most relaxed and at peace I had felt in quite some time.

This past weekend, it was warm again. I was able to sit on the front porch of my house and soak in the sun for hours. The only sounds there were was the sound of ice in glasses, wind in the trees and good conversation with the person I was sharing that time with. Once again, I felt at ease and I like I didn’t have a care in the world.

It’s those simple things that make me happy — a glass of Coke on a warm day, iced coffee on the porch during the morning or just someone to spend that time with.

You may wonder, “what ever happened to the simple things?” Take a look around and it’s easy to see what happened.

These days, so many people are doing things to impress people they don’t even like, let alone care about or even know in some cases. We live our lives on social media rather than in the moment, more concerned about getting a good photo to post to Facebook and Instagram than actually enjoying what’s in front of us.

No wonder why we Americans are unhappier now than ever before.

Well, last summer I declared it was “Summer of the Dad.” In that vain, I’m declaring this spring the “Spring of Simple Things.”

That means a couple of things.

First, spend less time on your phone when you’re around other people.

Nothing bothers me more than if I’m with someone and they’re paying more attention to their phone than to me. It’s rude and it shows me that the other person cares more about what’s on some screen than someone actually in front of them.

Luckily, though, most of the people I know aren’t like that, but it still bothers me when it does happen.

Second, take some time to do the things you enjoy this spring.

Spring in the Black Hills really is the perfect season. It’s warm, and you can still get out to do either the winter activities you love or some of the summer activities that occupy your days during the summer (I know, you can’t garden if there’s still snow or swim but you can go for a hike or sit by a lake).

Spend some time doing those things. I promise you’ll feel better after getting some fresh air after being inside all winter.

Finally — and this is the most important — spend time with the people you love.

I have my people, and they know who they are. Make time to be with your people. I guarantee you’ll feel better once you do.

If you mix into these things other things that interest you and make you happy, I promise you’ll feel better.

It’s the simple things  — like being present in the moment, enjoying a hobby you love and spending time with people that you like — that make life worth living.

Even here in the Black Hills we seem to be in a hurry. So many times we don’t make the time to enjoy the things that make us happy. I get it. We are busy people. But taking even 30 minutes on a warm, spring day to do something you love will make your life so much more enjoyable.

And doing that thing you love with people you love? That makes it so much more enjoyable.

So, this spring look for me sitting on a porch, drinking iced coffee, listening to good music and either reading or talking with people that I like.

Look for me enjoying that spring sunshine, the warm breeze and the people that you get to spend that time with.

Because, my friend, it’s the simple things that make life so much more enjoyable.

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