December 10, 2012 by benmblackman

Time is money...or is it?

Time is money…or is it?

The other evening I was walking to the train station after a late finish at work, not in a particularly grumpy mood considering this fact, but nonetheless not in a happy mood either.

This is rubbish compared to the smile I got

This is rubbish compared to the smile I got

I realised this half way back you see. Walking behind a mother holding her babes in arms (she was snuggled up so cosily in one of those all in one suits, scarf and hat added, just a small round face peering over her mother’s shoulders) we made eye contact and the most magical thing happened, she smiled. The kind of smile to stop you in your tracks. The kind of smile that lit up the world to me in an instant. I said, ‘hello,’ and she smiled even more. Her eyes sparkled and the gummy grin just got bigger and bigger and bigger. I wanted to hug her and kiss her rosy little cheeks but that’s not entirely appropriate in such situations so I made do with giving my best smile back as I strolled on, a truly happy man.

Sometimes the simplest things in life strike you and this was one of those kick up the backside, slap in the face, shake you by the braces ordeals that I love. It made me realise that, when you strip back all the other shite (work; money; too much of the first; not enough of the second; things to do – that you don’t want to; things you want to do but can’t), well, life is pretty simple and beautiful ain’t it?

Mine was much better than this tatt. I made the best risotto in the world that night

Mine was much better than this. I made the best risotto in the world that night

I sat on the train, smiled, and pondered how lucky I was. I headed home to read my daughter a story before bed, tucked her in and kissed her good night. I went downstairs, hugged my (very) good lady wife and set about making the best risotto in the world for a friend who arrived half an hour later.

We ate, we drank, we were merry.

This nearly made the list of what makes you happy

This nearly made the list of what makes you happy

Believe me, money don’t make you happy. It’s the little things in life: the smile from a baby; a beautiful piece of music; a hug or a kiss (both if you’re really lucky); maybe just time; a great piece of news for you or one you love; sunsets; stars; beaches; picnics; a game of football in the park; just sitting and doing nothing; who knows, by definition, they are little things, they might not seem like life changers but maybe they can be.

That smile changed my life, I’m sure of it, it was a moment I’ll never forget. It made me think, I wonder what that little girl will grow up to be? I wonder if somebody will ever touch her the way she touched me that night. Will anybody impact on her through such a short moment in time as she did me?

Where dreams (and debts) were made

Where dreams (and debts) were made

I was lucky enough to go to university (I say university – Liverpool John Moores. I say lucky – with the amount of UCAS Points I got even John Moores had to think about it)! They were some of the happiest times of my life, many people will tell you the same but think about it, also a time with the least money. The point was, you didn’t need much money when you had so much time and many friends on your side.

So let us all do this, strip away the shite of life a bit more often. Yes, I know life is hard, God I know life is hard, but let’s not dwell on it. We owe it to those it is truly terrible for (and I bet that’s not you right now) to embrace the simple things in ours and enjoy it whilst we can. Celebrate your health, forget about wealth. Do something for you today but just as importantly, do something for somebody you love too. Be generous with your time and most of all, smile.

Click on his beautiful little face to listen

Click on his beautiful little face to listen

That, and listen to Paulo Natini, he says it much better than me and even adds instruments n stuff – show off!


10 thoughts on “Smile

  1. isabelrogers says:

    Oh Ben! You have just been promoted to guru! Wise words indeed x

    • benmblackman says:

      Ah thank you. I love the challenge of trying to convey something oh so massively magical and important through black and white. (But I hate the utter frustration of not being able to do it). I think blogging helps develop writing a lot because the easy way to try is just to write more and more and more (and still fail). I always try to keep blog <750 words

  2. MelJd46 says:

    You are so right!

    I never was driven by an urge to accumulate pots of money & I learned many years ago that I was often happiest when money was scarce.

    As a keen photographer, I spend my life watching the minutiae of life occurring while I am stood in a hedge bottom waiting for “the shot” and am constantly amazed by how beautiful this world is if we just take the time to look and listen. Sadly, many never do.

    I might not have pots of money in the bank but I am rich in many other ways that count for so much more, the love of family and friends, good health, just being alive.

    Long may you enjoy such simple things as a smile, a butterfly, a giggle, its the stuff of memories & what makes life so good.

  3. Jane Smith says:

    What a lovely thing to read first thing on a cold, dark morning! Thank you for this, Ben. It’s made my day.

  4. Kylie says:

    A teeny weeny poodle wearing pink lace up trainers jumped up on my leg this morning and had a similar impact – although perhaps I was cheered up by the ridiculousness of it rather than the sweetness. Pink?!? What was his owner thinking? Nevertheless, it made me laugh out loud whilst jogging in -5c. Not an easy thing to do. Thanks Ben. Your blog always makes me smile. As does jogging.

  5. Great post, Ben. I’m in serious danger of thinking you’re a very nice guy.

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