My Favorite Poem…and Appreciating the Little Things

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This is my favorite poem. My friends know it quite well because, sometimes, I recite it while we’re hanging out: When I’m folding laundry, when I’m walking to work, when my roommate makes her overly-complicated coffee in the morning. This poem gets stuck in my head like a good song. And the words become so overwhelming in my own mind that I say them out loud: 

“At lunchtime I bought a huge orange —

The size of it made us all laugh.

I peeled it and shared it with Robert and Dave —

They got quarters and I had a half.

And that orange, it made me so happy,

As ordinary things often do

Just lately. The shopping. A walk in the park.

This is peace and contentment. It’s new.

The rest of the day was quite easy.

I did all the jobs on my list

And enjoyed them and had some time over.

I love you. I’m glad I exist.”

It’s a poem by Wendy Cope and it reminds me to appreciate the little things in life. There are so many intricacies we take for granted in this universe. This poem reminds me to practice gratitude by noticing the simplest things that bring me pleasure. 

The first time I heard this poem was last April while walking on the Oregon Coast. It was the first time in a year that I saw a good friend and I was frustrated we were six feet feet apart and wearing masks, unable to hug or touch. After a brief back-and-forth about our favorite citrus fruits, she read me the words.

When she finished, I asked her to read the poem again. Hearing it made me reset my view on the moment: Why was I dwelling on the negatives instead of appreciating the goodness of the situation? The sun was out. The sand was warm. The air was clear and smelled salty (in that good beach way). I was with a person I love at a place I love, talking about things I love. It may not have been ideal, but it was still pretty damn amazing. 

That’s the philosophy I’m trying to take to life right now. A lot of things really suck presently, but that doesn’t mean there’s not so many great things too. There’s saxophone music, dogs to pet, funny TikTok videos, vegan pizza pockets, purple eye shadow, over-sized sweatshirts, Croc Jibbitz, multi-colored tea lights, hazelnut-scented candles, watercolor paint, and oranges.

Life is fantastic. 

I’m glad I exist. 

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