Danecdotes: Oh, the little things in life

Dan Determan - Danecdotes.jpg
Dan Determan, PineandLakes Echo Journal Writer

You have no doubt heard the phrase “it’s the little things in life” plenty of times. When something goes wrong, there is always someone there to tell you to count your blessings and appreciate what you have.

It is a pretty cliche thing to say nowadays, and I’m usually pretty annoyed whenever I hear it.

However, I recently found out once again that the most common time to appreciate those “little things” is when you just so happen to be temporarily without them.

As I write this, I have virtually no water pressure in my home. When you have virtually no water pressure, you have virtually no running water.

We are able to flush the toilet and brush our teeth and small things like that, but anything more than that is not really possible at the moment. Plumbers in the area are busy and hard to reach, and much of my Sunday was dedicated to yelling obscenities at my laundry room sink.


When you go for a day or two without running water, electricity or even something else ridiculously “first-world” like Wi-Fi or your favorite cereal, you tend to learn not to take it for granted, especially when you go for a stretch being unable to do the little things like clean your dishes or bathe your semi-stinky toddler (apologies to the fine people working at my son’s daycare center).

That said, I know full well that my problems are pretty small potatoes when you consider huge chunks of the world struggle to find drinking water, there is political upheaval in several locations around the globe and Australia is literally on fire.

Honestly, and sadly, those make my wait for resolved plumbing issues much more tolerable.

I bet many of you, like me, could use something terrible like that to put your problems into perspective.

The big question is: Why?

Why do some of us need to know someone has it worse to make us appreciate what we have? I know comparisons can be helpful, but maybe we should be grateful for things just because we should be grateful.

I’m not criticizing anyone for feeling and behaving this way, because I am just as bad about counting my blessings as the next person.

I get the same way when my kid - who has had a fairly nasty cough for a week or two - keeps me awake for an hour or two at night. That’s irritating, as I’m sure any parent can attest, but coughing aside, my son is a healthy and happy little guy. Plenty of kids are not, and a slight lack of sleep on my part is a dumb thing to grumble about.


While I’m not one for New Year’s resolutions, the start of this new year is as good a time as any to try to show a bit more gratitude for what is around me.

Does that mean an end to yelling at the sink? Probably not. But if I can recognize just a bit more of the good things I have - a wonderful family, a roof over my head, a Vikings team that wins a playoff game once in a while, etc. - maybe my life and the lives of those around me will be a little better.

Related Topics: DANECDOTES
Dan Determan has been a reporter for the Echo Journal since 2014, primarily covering sports at Pequot Lakes and Pine River-Backus
What To Read Next
Even Thomas Jefferson wasn't immune to feeling morose, but we can learn from him
Members Only
It's not always as easy as it looks, especially when the temperature is 30 below zero
"If we are unwilling to admit that the racism exists in our power structures, people of color will continue to pay a deadly price."
We could all use a good laugh to start out the new year.