joy in the small things

19 Jul

I have a lot of big things to be joyful about these days! Between visits with family, welcoming beautiful babies to the world, getting to drive a superfly rental car with working air conditioning, making some new friends at work, and discovering that it’s possible to combine soft-serve ice cream with a slushie (thanks for the tip MN!) there is a lot to be glad about. In case some of my readers are in the place that I was not so long ago, though, I thought I’d share some small things that bring joy to my life.

My apartment is the upper story of a house that is over 110 years old. As a result, it has some unique quirks and charms. My roommate and I both like the idea that so many families have made their home in this cozy, slightly imperfect space. Even in the winter, when our wool sweaters and electric blankets barely protect us from the cold air drafting through the ancient windows, we appreciate the fun of living in a house full of history and character.

I must confess that sometimes I complain about that character, telling my sister how sometimes it seems that the house is just slightly slanted, making it a challenge to tell if something is hung straight on a wall. Or I rant to my coworkers about having to insulate the old double-hung windows with saran wrap during Ohio winters. And almost everytime someone knocks at our door, I apologize to them for the difficulty of welcoming them when the cantankerous old thing (which requires a tutorial to open and close) opens opposite the way the screen door does… and right into a narrow set of stairs.

The truth is that any complaints are pretty insignificant in the big picture, which is that I love this apartment. I love that we live next door to our sweet landlords; I love that they allowed us to paint the place in bright colors when we moved in; I love our neighborhood with its knobbly red brick streets. Here are some of the tiny things that I love, in the hope that you might enjoy them too:

we have charming light fixtures.

...and a laundry chute. we don't use it, because we only rent the top floor. but still. i like laundry chutes. i always wanted one growing up!

the cute "face in a place" doorknob in our bathroom. i guess some people might find it creepy to have a face-like thing staring at you in the lavatory, but it just reminds me of the electric blanket from The Brave Little Toaster, who was definitely not a creeper.

We have several of these old button-style light switches. And I like them.

Which brings us to one of my favorite things about this apartment, the light switch in my bedroom. I can only guess that whoever installed it was not a professional, because they put it in upside down. What does this mean for practical use?

Blinded by the light? Just flick the “no” switch, and darkness will be restored.

A few months ago, I was struggling to remind myself of the little smile-inducing things in my life. While it’s not such a struggle at the moment, I believe daily gratitude to be a worthwhile practice. Even in the valleys of my life, there’s so much to be grateful for and rejoice in. Sometimes I just need to do the work of reminding myself of what I know to be true. Like that opening my eyes to the sweet little things can help bring a more joyful perspective.

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2 Responses to “joy in the small things”

  1. juxtaposeddreams July 20, 2011 at 7:05 PM #

    This made me smile. :) I currently am having issues remembering the small things that bring me joy in my life, but one of my favorite things that almost always works is reminding myself of how must i love my apartment too! Gotta love those older houses with quirky little charms :) thanks for being a breath of fresh air in my creditor’s rights and law of trusts filled day!

  2. Jon L. August 23, 2011 at 12:48 PM #

    Very cool post, Katie. I, too, derive much pleasure from interesting little bits of ambience-enhancing character in old houses. And what a great encouragement to shift one’s attention from dwelling on all the joy-sucking niceties of life (which there seem to be many) to small, simple pleasures.

    You and Karen should bake bread and send it to your downstair neighbor through the laundry chute. The “NO” switch made me LOL (right here in the Orrville Library, no less)! And no worries about Mr. Face-in-a-place ogling you when you’re doing your business in the bathroom; there is NO way those tiny little peepers are going to be able to see anything past that ginormous schnoz of his!

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