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Ever wondered what the pace of the 21st century is doing to us? Aren’t we just a bunch of robots who go about our daily lives without stopping to think for a moment if we’re actually living or just simply caught in a monotonous run-of-the-mill routine because that’s what you need to do to be able to survive – or exist – now. Our surroundings and our environment require more from us now than we can give.

It’s a sad thought how there is no appreciation for the little – and maybe finer – things in life anymore. We are so caught up in the rat race, we have no time to stop and smell the flowers, metaphorically speaking of course. And while the competition to be the leading rat in that race may help bring out the best in us somehow, the only problem with the rat race is that even when you win, you’re still a rat.

The small things in life go a long way. However insignificant they may have been for that point in time, the ‘nuances and anomalies that we feel only accesorize our day are sometimes necessary to save our life.’ (that’s been lifted from a forwarded text message, but the idea’s the same). A warm hug from a friend can save our life, a timely intervention from a parent can make us realise what we’ve been missing… the list goes on.

We rush through life. We rush through life because the cut throat competition surrounding us now makes us want to do anything to reach the pinnacles of the mountains we’ve created for ourselves. And one day we do reach those and we’re elated by our success, but it doesn’t help cover up the many people we may have (unintentionally) hurt to get where we are. It doesn’t help hide the fact that in trying to reach that height we may have become someone we no longer recognise anymore.

Every person tries to be perfect. We waste our time and energy in trying to be the ‘best’ for all those around us, all those we interact with, all those who judge us. We live in our perfect doll houses, unaware that any day a hand may enter and change everything we’re so accustomed to having. And then we wonder if things can be changed that easily, maybe they weren’t perfect after all. And thus begins the whole cycle yet again of our fruitless efforts to be perfect.

Happiness comes in the small things in life. Words like ‘love’ and ‘happiness’ are just, well, words. They’ve been overrated and given the most extravagant meanings which makes us unable to even understand them, let alone appreciate them. A good meal with a family can make a person happy. A child feeding his pet dog shows he loves it. Then why do we fail to realise how truly happy and how truly loved we are? Why are we so ungrateful, when we have what these two ‘words’ signify in their true essence. It’s because we don’t know how to appreciate the small things in life; because we don’t stop to smell the flowers.

It’s about time we started living our lives for ourselves. It’s about time we realise little things like reading a good book in bed or listening to slow music count for as much as something like being the best student do, if not more. It’s about time we excuse ourselves from this ongoing never-ending rat race and stop to smell the flowers.