*This post is from David’s book, “Punch Failure in The Face, The Buy It a Beer”
It’s not uncommon these days for octogenarians to bemoan how things are vastly easier today than when they were hell-raising whippersnappers; ain’t that right, Grandpa? I swear all they had to play with as kids were old tires and sticks impaled with rusty nails.
These old geezers reminisce about twenty-five cent beers, an honest day’s work for an honest day’s pay, and how life were much easier when people talked to each other in person instead of on cellphones, iPads or computers. Come to think of it, they have had a point; especially with personal communication.
I remember back in the 1960s mom and her friends would gather one afternoon each week to drink coffee (and maybe some brandy) to have a good old fashion gossip/bitch session without husbands or kids around. Okay, us kids were around; our moms just made us play outside.
All the ladies looked forward to this weekly gathering, and not because it was lavish a affair – it wasn’t – but because the chance for a few hours of social time with friends over cake and coffee (and brandy!) was a big deal for them.
The anticipation of this weekly event – a small thing – turned a simple coffee date into a big deal, and that’s the point. How many people these days do you think wait anxiously all week to meet friends over coffee? Hardly any I bet.
Rather than a catalyst of connection and reflection with friends, these days coffee is more of routine caffeine boost as we scroll through social media feeds, talk on the phone or reply to unimportant texts about what’s for dinner. Coffee is not so the community builder it was in the 1960s; it’s more of a silent one-man sport. And that’s sad.
And to be clear, this idea isn’t just about coffee. These days many small things have lost their big deal status, which mean folks are missing out on cool experiences. For example, when did:
- Taking long walks outside become reluctant exercise?
- Reading became something we “have to do for work”?
- Being alone in public without ear buds become uncomfortable?
- Spending real time with people become secondary to online time, or social media?
As mom and her friends proved back in the 1960s, stopping to smell the roses (or coffee) turned a small thing into a big deal for them. Actually it was a huge deal since it created much-welcomed community, connection and friendship. But to be fair, back then no one had devices to let them be distracted every few seconds; and that’s the point. Sometimes our loud 2020 brains need some 1960s quiet.
If we want meaningful relationships with people (including ourselves) we must make time to unplug all our electronics so we can give our 100% focus to the people, places, sights and sounds in front of us. But unless we are prepared to create a quiet space, it can’t happen. So let’s try, shall we?
Revisiting the activities above, here are ways that unplugging can pave the way to turn the same small things into big deals which can provide pure joy for us, and possibly even for others.
- Take a walk without ear buds, instead taking in all the sounds around
- Schedule an hour each day to read and enjoy a cup of coffee
- Strike up conversations with strangers
- Give 100% of your focus to whoever is sitting in front of you
Give any of these suggestions a try, and you’ll quickly understand that most big deal experiences derived from small things usually yield a big return in community connection, friendship and/or intimacy; or put another way, they create “big” things in terms of feelings and/or emotions.
We can find a similar intimacy with nature. Imagine being all bundled up warm and dry, then taking an autumn stroll through the park, feeling the brisk fall air on your face and hearing the crackle sounds from the dry, crisp autumn leaves underfoot. Or;
Imagine strolling barefoot along a beach, with gulls flying overhead and the hot sun warming your face. Now imagine feeling the sand and ocean mixing between your toes as you walk along the coastline listening to the crashing waves… its pure bliss.
Like the appreciation of coffee with dear friends, an appreciation of nature turns a simple walk into a big deal; but the key is to do it unplugged and put 100% focus on the sights, sounds and tactile feelings all around. Because it’s difficult to appreciate the beauty and grace of a feeding hummingbird or how waves angrily crash up against the rocks when we’re busy checking text messages every few minutes.
Unplugging and focusing on who and what’s around us helps make small things become big deals; sometimes even big, loving, emotional, heartfelt deals.
And I like that.
Author Bio: David Knapp-Fisher
As founder of The Inspired Humans Project, David loves sharing inspirational stories. His TEDx talk, “Discipline or Regret, a Father’s Decision” been viewed over 112,000 times, and his book, “Punch Failure in The Face, The Buy It a Beer” has 36 five star reviews on amazon.ca.
David lives in Victoria B.C. and spends most of his time trying (& usually failing) to stump his son with movie trivia or planning his next big adventure; both while drinking great coffee, of course.