December 10, 2012 by benmblackman
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.
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?
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.
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?
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.
That, and listen to Paulo Natini, he says it much better than me and even adds instruments n stuff – show off!