Fuzz Balls: Gratitude in Everyday Life

At what age, do we stop noticing fuzz balls? In other words, when do we stop seeing the wonder in the little things?
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Think about your favorite, old sweater.

Now think about all of the fuzz balls on your favorite, old sweater. No matter what you do, the fuzz balls remain. No lint brush and no amount of picking the fuzz balls off one by one removes them for good. Like magic, the fuzz balls just seem to reappear. You hate the fuzz balls! I hate the fuzz balls.

My three-year-old nephew, Drew, loves the fuzz balls. Rather than getting annoyed by them, he gets excited when he finds fuzz balls on his clothes. He likes all kinds of fuzz -- any color, shape, or size -- just anything that feels, well, fuzzy. It can be Q-tips, pillow stuffing, or even lint from clothes. He even has a special name for fuzz balls: boo botts.

If Drew had to choose between a brand new toy or an ordinary cotton ball, I think he would pick the cotton ball. He appreciates the softness of something that I simply use to remove eye makeup and then toss into the trashcan.

Drew's favorite blanket is worn and tattered on the end. When he sleeps with it at night, he says, "Where's that thing I like?" That thing he likes is the edge of the blanket that is torn and falling apart. It is soft and fuzzy. And he falls asleep every night holding it. Drew sees the beauty in something that is old and ripped up.

At what age, do we stop noticing fuzz balls? In other words, when do we stop seeing the wonder in the little things? Some people might say, "Stop and smell the roses." Instead, I like to say, "Stop and see the fuzz balls." It's easier to stop and smell a rose, something that is clearly beautiful and wondrous, than to stop and see the beauty in something ordinary like a fuzz ball.

As I sit here looking around my apartment, I don't see any roses. (I have only had roses a few times in my life. Hint...hint...for any future boyfriends.) But I do see a lot of fuzz balls in my house. I'm not talking about the ones on the t-shirt I am wearing. I am talking about the desk I am writing on -- an old table my dad and I bought together at a garage sale before I went to college. This desk is over ten years old now, nothing particularly special about it, but it has helped me write college biochemistry reports, Life Without Ed, and my upcoming book, Goodbye Ed, Hello Me. My desk is a fuzz ball -- reminding me of special times in my life.

Another fuzz ball: my cheap white, curtains. They are plain and lop-sided, but they let the sun into my life everyday. And I hung them myself, imperfectly. I accept the imperfectness. Now that's a fuzz ball.

Another fuzz ball is the UPS notice hanging on my door. Earlier today, I was frustrated that I had missed the delivery. But the fact is that this fuzz ball means I am getting a package from the phone company that will bring me high speed Internet. Finally!

We are all surrounded by fuzz balls. It's easy to see the roses, but sometimes the fuzz balls are strangely even more beautiful.

Think about some "fuzz balls" in your life. What are some things you overlook and even take for granted? Do your best to see the wonder in these things. Feel gratitude. There is a reason why Twelve Step recovery fellowships talk so much about gratitude. It works! If you like to write in a journal, try keeping a gratitude list each day. Or even try sending a thank you note to someone in your life once a week or once a month. This is something that I am trying out. I just mailed my first letter of gratitude to my parents yesterday. Please share your thoughts by posting a comment.

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