Life Is About The Big Things Keeping You Busy And The Little Things Keeping You Happy

“There is not one big cosmic meaning for all; there is only the meaning we each give to our life, an individual meaning, an individual plot, like an individual novel, a book for each person.” -- Anais Nin

Maybe it’s because of the recent popularity of “True Detective” or our culture's aversion to religion, but there’s been a lot of discussion about life lately -- the meaning of it, the cause of it and the result of it.

Throughout our days, we choose not to think about the unsolvable paradox that is life and the point to it all. Instead, we try to spend our time on this earth harmoniously and dignified, enjoying as much of it as possible.

We distract ourselves with jobs, careers and television. We make goals for ourselves and indulge in simple pleasures.

We get preoccupied with the superficial and the mundane, believing that a lost job or breakup is the end of life as we know it. We spend our lives chasing ideas and pursuits of riches. But where does our real happiness come from?

I’ve decided the secret to living right is this: The big things should keep you busy and the little things should keep you happy.

Your career, your goals, your work, your family -- those are the big things. Laughing with your best friends, a great cup of coffee, a cigarette -- those are the little things. The big things are important, but life wouldn’t be worth living without the small things.

It’s important to realize that big things are just that, things. Big things are factors that distract you, that take up your time and your attention.

The big things are paying your bills and renting your first apartment. They are working towards that promotion and finding that person to marry. While these should make you happy and productive, they aren’t the things that are important.

The little things are the ones you need to pay attention to. The little things are what’s going to save you when your career ends or your marriage comes crashing down.

The little things are sunrises and sunsets, a great beer and watching a stranger help the homeless.

The little things are the cobblestone streets on your trip to Italy or the fresh fish at the market. It's the walks through Central Park and the warm croissants at that French bakery you love so much. It's the warm weather and the fall breezes.

We forget to pay attention to the little things and shift our focus to attaining the big things. We forget to look up at the buildings or at the people we love because we’re too focused on getting to those bigger things we find so important.

We forget to appreciate the music we’re listening to and the food we’re eating. We forget to notice the artwork around us and the people next to us.

The big things are important, of course. They give us reason and purpose. They drive our lives, keeping us busy and motivated through a seemingly purposeless world.

They should distract us from the monotony of life and instill a sense of drive. However, we should not become absorbed in the distraction. That’s all the big things are, distractions.

They aren’t the real reasons to live or the things that bring the most joy. The things that bring joy and true happiness are the things we don’t pay much heed to, and it’s time we started.

Photo via We Heart It