Changing Leaves: My little joys
I tried to write this piece, but I felt like I was overcomplicating what I wanted to say. It was as if I had to explain every thought and express every perspective. Words are not meant to be limited or hidden. Emotions and concerns are not meant to be dismissed. There is such profound beauty in the simple things in life—like picking out beautiful, monochromatic flowers; feeling the sun on your face after weeks of no sunshine; and saying “hello” to strangers on weekly trips to Toronto.
Listening to the tapping of keyboards reminds us of our gift of hearing. Hugging our loved ones reminds us of our ability to feel. Wincing as a Sour Patch Kid hits our tongues reminds us of our ability to taste. Noticing the wrinkles around our best friend’s eyes reminds us of our ability to see. Sniffing a scent that transports us back in time reminds us that we are gifted with the ability to smell.
Taking the bus reminds us of our independence. Having strangers open doors for us reminds us of simple humanity. Bright vibrant bouquets in all seasons remind us that warmer days are guaranteed. The moment you finally don’t need your jacket when going outside signals the beginning of spring, ice cream (not that I’ve ever stopped eating it), and swimming. Even just listening to a new song you know is going to be on repeat, finally putting on jeans that perfectly fit, or getting a high-five after getting a problem set right. These are little joys.
It’s not always easy to “stop and smell the roses,” but there will be brief moments where you can see clearly and appreciate these little joys in life. Hold onto them, remind yourself of them, so that every interval of goodness you feel motivates you to hold on during the bad.
Losing yourself on a new path, meeting people at work or school, picking what salad dressing you want—these things all teach you to look forward to life because more of those moments are guaranteed. Maybe you broke up with your partner, or lost your job, or got into a fight with someone you love, and maybe you never received the degree you wanted on time, or that award you worked towards. Even when it feels like nothing good is happening, the little joys exist. Not every day is good, but there is goodness in every day.
I started off this article thinking about how happy I am commuting to Toronto—talking to older adults, holding doors open, or even just complimenting someone on the GO Bus. It reminds me that there is more outside my bubble of pain. I feel the same effect from travelling and venturing a little too far out of Mississauga. Commuting, especially, reminds me of my independence and strength. It teaches me that I have full autonomy over my choices, and if I wanted to, I could hop on a bus and end up in Windsor. My little joys help sustain me until my next big joy comes along.
Changing Leaves Columnist (Volume 49); Managing Editor (May–November, Volume 49) — Aia is a fourth-year student studying Psychology and completing a double minor in French and Philosophy. She became a Staff Writer for The Medium in the 2021-2022 publishing year and was determined the team couldn’t get rid of her so soon. In her spare time, she can be found café hopping in the hopes to find the best iced chai in the GTA, writing her weirdly complex thoughts down in her notes app, or taking a million pictures a day of her friends. Aia hopes that students find The Medium and feel the sense of belonging she has felt. You can connect with Aia on Linkedin.