Little Things Make Everything Seem Smaller
I was looking at Instagram on my phone while heading to Hell's Kitchen the other day when the Via driver asked me what brought me to New York. "I'm here for school," I gave the usual answer, one that was sufficient, yet curt enough to make clear that I was in no mood to indulge in conversation. To my chagrin, the driver did not seem to feel dismissed by my usually successful (but not always conscious) attempt to avoid, what to me, was another task I had to contribute effort to and never excelled at––verbal communication.
The driver, basking in the glow that arose from overcoming the social obstacle that I was, asked me a series of questions and kept the conversation going. I felt like I was dodging a bullet each time I came up with a response to counter his. But then, in the midst of navigating unfamiliar territory, what I once considered to be an interrogation became what made my day better and ultimately, lifted my mood.
You might wonder, "How can a mundane human activity bring you so much delight? Why not just buy yourself an ice cream cone and call it a day?" That is a question that, I myself, have asked. Well, I'll tell you why:
- Sure, conversational exchanges are a part of everyday life that you cannot really avoid (as hard as you may try), but when you let yourself become interested, dare I say, invested, in a conversation, I've found that they have the potential to become quite meaningful. If you're anything like me, maybe you've taken for granted the things people have said to you, or what you've said to them, probably under the implicit notion that conversations can just be channels to relay factual information from one individual to another (sans meaning). But, what if our dependency on language has made us overlook how subtly powerful it could really be? The Via driver and I did not speak of anything significant, but as I vacated the vehicle, I found it nearly impossible to ignore feeling as though the connection we made together, at that given moment in time, a moment so fleeting, would be a minuscule yet necessary part of a memory that was shaping itself to be looked back upon. On that note, moments will never be as treasured as when they become memories, even despite all of our greatest efforts. That's sad, yet beautiful, at the same time, no?
- When you're as introverted as me, a little goes a long way. Often, I feel quite productive when I feel that I have reached my social interaction quota. Productivity = mood booster.
- Have you checked the prices of ice cream lately? While I do believe that money does, indeed, buy happiness (especially in New York), you should see my bank account.
So, what was the purpose of all of this?
Little things (such as conversations you never knew you would/could enjoy with your Via driver) can really impact the way you feel and how you approach your everyday life. Somehow, they are able to make the bad things seem smaller than how they usually appear to be. So, next time you are feeling frustrated, bored with life, or like what you are up against is too big for you to handle, maybe doing something small (conversation/good cup of coffee/pet a dog) will make it feel more bearable––or maybe even diminish it completely.