The joy of small wins

October 31, 2018

Something very small, and highly insignficant in the great scheme of things, happened to me the other day.

 

I was waiting, for a friend, in the cafe at the National Trust's Polesden Lacey. I ordered a cappuccino, took out my purse to pay and discovered that my loyalty card was fully stamped and I was owed a free drink.

 

It was just a tiny thing. A thing that had no lasting effect on the universe.

 

That two pound sixty-whatever-it-was I saved won't make much of a dent in the amount I owe on my mortgage. It won't keep my ever-growing child in trousers. But it was definitely a win.

 

A small win but a win, none-the-less. And in this maddening, frustrating, increasingly bizarre world we are stuck in, these tiny wins count for a lot. To me, at least.

 

It might say a lot about me - about the, frankly, quite terrifying speed with which I can empty my mind of anxieties enough to celebrate such a small event - but that free coffee made me extraordinarily happy for a while.

 And so I started thinking of other small wins that make me feel the same way. I'm not talking about 'nice things that happen' or 'events that are generally good' here (like that great feeling you get when you remove your bra or tights after a long day): it's those extra moments, the things I wasn't expecting. Such as:

 

1. Somebody passing on their car parking ticket to you. Isn't this one of the loveliest things that humanity is capable of? I always give any ticket with time still left on it to another parker and I am an outspoken critic of those horrible machines that make you put your registration number in. If I've paid for that space for a certain number of hours then it shouldn't matter whose car is parked in it, you nasty, money-grabbing robot.

 

2. Finding money in the pocket of a coat you haven't worn for ages. Now, I know that, technically, this isn't a 'win'. It's not like it's extra money - it was obviously yours to forget about in the first place (unless you'd stolen in, in which case shame on you). But you'd either written it off as lost or not realised you'd put it there in the first place and carried on with your life without it, so it still counts as a win in my book.

 

3. Settling down to watch Would I Lie To You and discovering that Bob Mortimer is one of the guests. I would probably have enjoyed the programme anyway, but his presence is definitely a small win.

If you've never seen him on it, you must. Now. The man is joyous.

 

4. Somebody else cancelling an appointment that you weren't particularly looking forward to. Not only do you not have to feel guilty because it wasn't your choice not to go but you've also been given the small win of unexpected free time! You now have an hour or two to do whatever you like in: watch telly, have a bath, take a nap - yay!

 

5. Running a bath, wandering off and forgetting to test the water before it's full, then getting in and discovering that it's at the absolutely perfect temperature. How often does that happen, eh?

 

6. Finding a last sweet or biscuit when you thought you'd finished the packet already. 'Nuff said.

 

7. Correctly guessing the ridiculous team name that the berks choose for themselves on The Apprentice.  Endeavour? Tenacity? Stealth? I'm ahead of you all. It's an annual - and much-loved - game in the Brookman household.

 

 Some of these small wins are universal (that feeling when you wake up thinking it's a work day, only to realise it's Saturday!) and some are intensely personal (does anybody else experience pangs of happiness when you put the washing away and the final piece of clothing fits onto the last available hanger? No? Just me then? That's fine) but all should be embraced and treasured.

 

Small wins may not be able to sort out the chaos that is Brexit/Syria/Trump's presidency/our horrific increasing need for foodbanks/ the government's systematic dismantling of the NHS but they are definite 'ups' in what can sometimes feel like a constant barrage of 'downs'.

 

Let me know what counts as a small win for you by leaving a comment below or getting in contact with me here!

 

Rosalind

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