If I ignore the simple things, I’ll be ignoring most of my life.

My husband, Bob, never ignores the simple things. Instead, he thrives on monotony. It intensifies his lunacy.

Now, before you think, “Saralee always makes her husband look nuts,” please know that he is.

And before you think, “Poor Bob. He’s such a good sport,” please know that when I talk about him in a column, he soaks it right up. If I don’t include him, he mopes around the house for days.

Last week at the supermarket, Bob shouted from the other end of the fruit and veggie aisle, “Saralee, smell this!” He was holding up a tomato. Shoppers were staring.

Begrudgingly I ambled over, smelled the tomato, and remarked, “There’s no smell.”

“Are you kidding me?”

So he picked up one fruit after another—a banana, a cantaloupe, a strawberry—and held them in my face, saying way too loudly, “Feel the smell. Relish the smell. Be the smell!” Shoppers flew out of our aisle to get as far away from him as they could.

I took an obligatory sniff and then kept shopping.

He grabbed my arm. “You walk right by so many things without even noticing them.”

“Bob, we’ll never get through shopping if you keep smelling every single thing.”

Bob, we’ll never get through shopping if you keep smelling every single thing.

He said, “Just look around us. We’re so lucky to be here, where foods from all over the world are available. You never appreciate it. How many people in the world would be ecstatic to walk down these aisles and pick out anything they wanted?”

He was right.

He walked up to a store manager and solemnly said, “I appreciate your potatoes.”

The manager stared blankly.

When I was a practicing psychotherapist, a patient taught me, “We spend over 50 percent of our lives doing chores. We might as well enjoy them.”

While driving home, Bob said, “Tonight, I’ll be giving thanks for such a special day, when you and I were together buying food.”

I thought to myself, “While Bob’s immersed in gratitude, I’ll be thinking about how we did nothing important. Just a few chores. Bob, though, will be thinking that even if a day was routine, every day counts.”

I looked at my husband, suddenly realizing that it wasn’t how we spent the day that mattered. It was, instead, all about our attitudes—our different ways of thinking about the very same activity. Bob’s mindfulness versus my nonchalance. I don’t want to skip over days, no matter what we do.

It was only then I fully understood what he meant when he said, “Today was a day dreams are made of.”


Nationally syndicated, award-winning columnist Saralee Perel can be reached at sperel@saraleeperel.com or via her website: www.saraleeperel.com.

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