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Today I found myself looking forward to the weekend, something which so surprised me I had to stop and have a think about it.

The reaction in itself isn’t unusual, by the way. As an introvert and all-round self-confessed fraidy-cat, my first reaction to almost anything is to stop and give it some serious thought before actually doing something about it. I sometimes worry that I’ll one day get bitten by a snake and spend so much time analysing what I did to deserve it that I’ll neglect to get treatment. (The snake would be fine, by the way. It would have plenty of time to slither off while I was beating myself up mentally for being an idiot and wouldn’t suffer too badly from having to get a taste of me.)

Fact is, I find it hard to look forward to stuff. Especially if there are too many variables. It’s like electric scales. A perfectly simple purely mechanical system, relying on balance and pressure, is capable of accurately measuring weight. There’s usually a rotating set of marks in a little window and a big red needle pointing at what the number is (which you can put your big toe over if you’re really not all that keen on finding out how much you weigh).

Add to this simple device things like a battery, a digital display, a set of uniquely annoying sounds and different modes into the equation and you’re immediately throwing in a whole set of other variables that can go wrong. Result: far more fragile scales that will probably end up in landfill in under a year. (I can almost hear the words “built-in obsolescence” echoing through the manufacturers’ heads)

I tend to get so caught up in the variables of a group day out at the beach that I can’t look forward to it in case it doesn’t happen. I genuinely couldn’t live with the disappointment, and worse, other peoples’ sympathy about said disappointment.

Let’s have a look at some example variables, just for kicks:

  • Weather. Could rain.
  • Transport. All public transport could be called off due to zombie invasion. Or floods. See weather.
  • Under-attendance: People could not come. Or say they could and at the last minute decide not to (because of the floods and the zombies) and I would be left at the beach alone with no handy baseball bat or protective umbrella, at the mercy of the elements and the undead. And sympathetic passers-by saying “Aaaaah. No-one came to the party? Nevermind. It’s not because they don’t like you, it’s because of the rampaging armies of darkness. Honest.”
  • Over-attendance: The beach might be too crowded to enjoy properly. Probably with people trying to launch boats to get away from the zombies or with people boating in down the river from their flooded housing estate and heading for France.

But as I’ve got older I think it’s become easier to look forward to, say, little things. Simple stuff. Fewer variables. Less chance of weak points. I can see sunshine through my bedroom curtains in the morning and look forward to being out in it (then reprimand myself for being an aging hippy). I can pack a book for my daily commute and really look forward to reading it.

Little things please little minds, the saying goes, but I’d rather like to refute that, at the risk of being arrogant about the vitalstatistics of my own mind.

Little things please big minds because they’re little.

Little stuff. Big joy.