Enjoy the simple things, win the small battles

Published 7:42 am Monday, June 12, 2017

I’m taking a page from Eric Johnson’s playbook this week: I’m offering my advice for our local graduates — or at least their family and friends, because I doubt I’m real hip with the young people.

Believe it or not, I’ve actually gave the commencement speech when I graduated from college, and I can’t blame it on some fluke thing — someone actually suggested it and others agreed with him or her. Don’t feel bad, I’m still surprised, too.

I was reminded about this recently when my fiancee asked me about it after my mother urged  her to read it. Apparently my mom still has a copy, which I’m currently plotting to eliminate.

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This goes without saying, but 30-year-old Jason knows more than his 22-year-old predecessor, and I wondered what the most recent version of me would say today.

So here it goes …

Forget the war — or the big picture — and just focus on life’s small battles.

I remember graduating from high school and later college and feeling like the world was enormous, and like it’s something for you to conquer.

Flash forward eight years, and I found myself genuinely pleased — and bordering on excited — over water. Yes, water, that free stuff that comes out of a tap,but we also like buying in bottles.

Yes, I bought a 32-ounce water bottle that promised to keep my hot drinks hot for hours and my cold drinks cold even longer — up to 12 hours, half day. I filled it with ice, left it my car overnight and drove to work in the morning with some ice still left.

I know, your minds are blown. And all of you still reading are surely thinking, “ Wow. This guy is not only cool, but he also knows his stuff.”

But bear with me: While training for a half marathon and trying to workout often, I realized I wasn’t drinking enough water, which was causing me to get dehydrated and get lethargic headaches.

In a fluke, I borrowed my sister’s electric blue 32-ounce thermos, and wallah, the lightbulb went off: It’s much easier to keep drinking water when it’s icy cold and easy. Problem solved.

Yes, the thermos is a metaphor. It’s a reminder to focus on the little things. I can’t find a cure for the fact that humans need to take in and expel food and liquid, but I can make it easier for me to do this.

This is all too say the best advice I can really give is this: Learn to manage the little things. Most days, those little things will make or break you.

Case in point, I can’t control that “ covfefe”  is now forever stuck in our lexicon. Regardless of our wildly mixed thoughts in this country about President Donald Trump, I think we can agree that it’s weird that the new word “ covfefe”  has become widely discussed and is forever stuck in our lexicon. Since we can’t control world events and how many “ covfefe” -type things will come up, we can at least control, to some degree, the little things that affect our daily lives and how much we let them bring us joy and a little humor, or annoyance and frustration.

Will a dehydrated headache break your day? Will a frustration at work break your day? Or, will you find some solace in the little things that come up.

In my college speech, I’m sure I talked about all the big things we could accomplish, and I still hope all who heard it are shooting for something big.

On a Wednesday morning in an office with the latest project awaiting completion and another daily to-do list, few of us will think about those post-graduation goals of conquering the world.

But it’s at least nice to lean over and sip some cold water.