What Gets the Most Real Estate in Our Mind

The creamy, whipped, nearly edible smell of this morning’s shampoo.

Sitting down at a table in the terrific bakery I hadn’t been to in years and Wendy, the waitress, remembering me.

Seeing the couple who’d been sitting behind me on the flight to Maine in the morning walking through downtown Portland in the evening.

The honey in my kitchen cabinet that’s thick as maple syrup and a yellow so radiant, you could warm up looking at it.

Why call out these sweet bits and pieces?

The unsweet bits and pieces have a much longer lifespan. The call I messed up, the conversation I overshared in, the unkind thing I said, those bitter things stay with me long after the fact. No effort required.

But the sweet things? They happen and then I’m off to the next. Their lifespan is so brief.

It’s a lopsided seesaw.

To balance it out, I want to celebrate these ordinary pleasures. Share them, think about them, jot them down, whatever draws out their lifespan, gives them real estate in our attention akin to the real estate the shameful, guilt-inducing, self-recriminating things get.

When we amplify these sweet things, we help our attention notice them more, elevate them from forgettable bits and pieces to meaningful parts of the day. And since so much of life is what we give our attention to, why not give the lovely as fair a share as the unlovely?

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