February 2, 2009

Little joys.

I have a splinter stuck in the palm of my left hand, and I don’t mind.

The splinter came from my (eventually successful) efforts to light the fireplace in my new apartment this past Saturday evening. I spent the rest of the night sitting on a cushion in front of the fire reading The Morning News Annual and sipping tea.

I had almost forgotten the joy of sitting and reading by a fire. While I often consciously make time to disconnect, relax, and engage in personal reflection, living in a continuously-connected world makes it difficult to step back and slow down.

My issues with Comcast over the past week have meant that I have spent the past ten days (and counting!) without any access to the internet outside of work. My iPhone is with AT&T for repair, and I don’t have a television to fall back upon when I’m looking for quick entertainment.

Instead, I’m spending my time reading magazines, building fires, and chatting with strangers in cafes. I’ve been living in a lo-fi world, and I’ve been so happy that even a splinter in my palm can’t bring me down.

Eventually, I’ll get back to my always-connected world, and when I do, I want to be reminded of the wonderful things I’ve done in the past few weeks — things that are decidedly unconnected and lo-fi, but have been full of small joys and an appreciation of the people and things around me.

Activities like:

  • Skipping rocks on the Potomac River at 9am on a Sunday morning.
  • Climbing trees on large hills to get a better view of the city.
  • Helping a local fruit farmer sell pears at the farmer’s market.
  • Writing heartbreak poetry collaboratively with strangers at a cafe.
  • Playing dodgeball with kids at the local after-school program.
  • Singing with the busker playing the guitar at the metro station.
  • Discussing a recent Economist article with a stranger over lunch.
  • Sitting on the roof of my building and watching the sun rise.
  • Sipping oolong tea outside on the curb while I watch shivering strangers bump into each other as they hurriedly rush to get out of the cold.

What do you do when you’re disconnected? What are the little, lo-fi joys in life that keep you smiling? How do you remember to savor those joys and that beauty even when the world is moving so quickly around you?