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Enjoy the little things…

February 14, 2011

Last week while I was watching the movie Zombieland (starring Academy Award nominee Jesse Eisenberg and outstanding actor Woody Harrelson), something struck me. I think some of the best advice I’ve received in life has come from that movie. The various rules that Columbus (Jesse’s character) maps out for the audience are pretty important for surviving the Zombie Apocalypse, but they also can come in handy in real life (before the Zombie Apocalypse occurs). For example: Rule #1 – Cardio. People should stay active, whether it’s for running from zombies or just staying healthy and fit. Rule #8 – Get a kickass partner. Everyone needs a right-hand man for back up as well as companionship. Life can get pretty lonely sometimes, and it helps to have someone who kicks ass just as hard as you do by your side. (Look at the end for the complete list of rules.)

With this in mind, I began thinking about Rule #32 – Enjoy the little things. The movie puts a pretty heavy influence on this particular rule, and I think we should too. Whether you live in a world infested with the undead or maybe just need a little ray of sunshine to illuminate a particularly dark day, it’s the little things that can lift your spirits and get you through the trouble. They’re probably the easiest form of happiness you can attain, and most of the time they’re free. Looking back, I’ve always enjoyed the little things in my life the most but never really realized how much happiness they bring me. So I decided to make a list of some little things that get me through the day (in no particular order):

  1. Freshly Sharpened Pencils – Because who doesn’t love that faint smell of wood and graphite as you twist it along that sharp blade. My pencil sharpener is a particularly good one too, so it gets my pencils extra pointy. I write most of my notes in pencil, and I can’t stand the way my writing looks if it’s too thick because the tip of the graphite is too stubby. Sharpened pencils bring actual joy to all the homework I have to do, and lately I’ve had entirely too much. There’s comfort in a good pencil.
  2. Singing in the Car – I can be sad, angry, happy, or annoyed and instantly feel better when I get in my car and drive with a good song on the radio. I don’t really do that much driving now a days, but whenever I drive home to Mobile (and back), I always have to listen to something that I can sing along to. It keeps me entertained without taking away my focus from the road. It’s a very peaceful experience, especially when you’re driving alone. If other people are in the car, I try not to sing as much or as loud as I would if I were alone because, I’ll admit it, I don’t have the prettiest voice on the planet, and I don’t really want people to have to suffer. My current driving playlist that I pop on when I get in the car is a combination of Dr. Dog and Modest Mouse. I listen to it on shuffle so I get a pretty even mix of the two bands. I chose these two bands because I know that no matter what song comes on next, I won’t be disappointed with it. My driving playlists have to be as such because it’s dangerous to fiddle with your iPod when you’re driving. Safety first!
  3. Blankets – Okay, so I know blankets can sometimes be vital to life (like if you live in the tundra), but here in New Orleans, it’s usually warm enough to go without. I absolutely love when my room is cold because I can grab a blanket and snuggle up. Blankets are very comforting: they’re like big warm hugs that last for as long as you want them to. And blankets are a luxury for us as well. Some people are freezing, and they need blankets in order to stay alive. Plus they can serve multiple functions. Is it a warm, beautiful day outside? Well get out of that cold room, spread your blanket on the ground, and bask in the warmth of the sun. I feel all warm inside just thinking about it!
  4. Reading FoxTrot on Sunday Mornings – Okay, so I haven’t really read FoxTrot in the Sunday morning newspaper for some time now, but that doesn’t mean I haven’t stopped enjoying it. I just don’t get the newspaper anymore. FoxTrot was always one of my favorite comics (it’s the perfect balance of nerdy-cool), but it only was published in the Mobile Register every Sunday (which made me sad). I’ll admit it: even at the age of 20, I don’t really care for reading newspapers, but the Sunday Morning Comics never get old (except maybe Garfield and some of the lamer ones). Even though I don’t get to read FoxTrot in the newspaper anymore, I’ve recently started following Bill Amend (the mastermind behind it) on twitter (@billamend). Definitely an entertaining guy. Look for him.
  5. Listening to Music While Walking to Class – I suppose this is sort of related to singing in the car and the comfort of hearing music. My last blog post was about walking music, so you can read that for more insight into this concept (except the walking songs aren’t really up to date with what I’m walking to these days). I just love having music in my head when I’m walking to class (or anywhere really). It’s sort of like having a soundtrack to your life. My mood can change entirely (usually for the better) just from the type of song I listen to while I’m walking. It’s very therapeutic, especially if you’re walking to a big exam or a particularly boring class.
  6. Porch Swings – There’s one porch swing that I like in particular. It’s the porch swing on the left side of Cudd Hall (if you’re looking toward the building) on Tulane’s campus. On lovely spring days, it’s an ideal spot to wait for your next class or do a little last-minute studying. Last semester (Fall 2010), I had a big block of time between my morning lab and my mid-day history class. Instead of going back to my room for an hour (or sometimes less), I would go sit on my favorite porch swing and read. It was such a delightful experience. To break it down even more, I can safely say that I like both porches and swings, so the two together are ideal.
  7. Bubble Wrap – Such sweet, sweet satisfaction.
  8. Book Smell – Whether it’s an old, moldy one or a brand spankin’ new one, I absolutely love the smell of books. I’ve always been a pretty avid reader, so I guess I created an association between awesome books and the general smell. My sister got a kindle last year, and I just couldn’t imagine why anyone would want to hold a strange metally thing in their hand rather than paper and binding. Of course I understand the convenience of kindles and nooks and such, but I would just much rather have a book in my hand.
  9. Juice Boxes – From Elementary School to High School, I always got a juice box in the lunches my mommy made me (and she made me lunch every day). That little cardboard container of 100% juice was a staple in deciding the success of my day, mostly because I would feel incomplete without it. Now that I’m a big kid in college, I still love juice boxes. My mom sends them to me all the time. My friends have also come to love the utter convenience of delicious juice in a disposable container. And they’re good for you too (if they’re 100%)!
  10. Old SpiceAnother smell that I really like (and there are a lot of them) is the smell of Old Spice. It doesn’t matter the specific type of Old Spice; it all smells awesome to me. If I’m ever standing/sitting next to a guy and he’s wearing Old Spice, I can’t help by want to tell him that he smells really good (which I often do depending on how comfortable I am with the male in question). I guess that’s sort of the point of wearing a good smelling deodorant though, so good work, Old Spice.

So those are a few of my favorite things. They may seem insignificant, but they really make my life so much better. Maybe you should start noticing the little things that brighten your day (or even a particular moment). It’s always important to follow Rule #32. And don’t forget to keep all the other rules in mind:

  1. Cardio
  2. The Double Tap
  3. Beware of Bathrooms
  4. Wear Seat Belts
  5. No Attachments
  6. The “Skillet”
  7. Travel Light
  8. Get a Kick Ass Partner
  9. With your Bare Hands
  10. Don’t Swing Low
  11. Use Your Foot
  12. Bounty Paper Towels
  13. Shake It Off
  14. Always Carry A Change of Underwear
  15. Bowling Ball
  16. Opportunity Knocks
  17. Don’t Be A Hero
  18. Limber Up
  19. Break It Up
  20. It’s a Marathon, Not a Sprint, Unless It’s a Sprint, then Sprint
  21. Avoid Strip Clubs
  22. When in Doubt, Know Your Way Out
  23. Ziplock
  24. Use Your Thumbs
  25. Shoot First
  26. A Little Sun Screen Never Hurt Anybody
  27. Incoming!
  28. Double-Knot Your Shoes
  29. The Buddy System
  30. Pack Your Stain Stick
  31. Check the Back Seat
  32. Enjoy the Little Things
  33. Swiss Army Knife

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One Comment leave one →
  1. February 14, 2011 10:06 PM

    great post!!! freshly sharpened pencils – YES!
    and that’s a big 10-4 on the book smell.
    as for juice boxes – have you seen the arrested development episodes that really get into buster’s juice obsession? he thinks a box of wine is a giant juice box. so great.

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