There is so much beauty in our daily lives that we don’t even realize much of our surroundings at first glance. We have grown accustomed to cloudless skies, vibrant flowers adorning the quad and all the beauty that lies within the colors of the sunset over the D.C. skyline. Somewhere along the line, I stopped waking up and feeling grateful for the fact that I was able to see such colors.
It took me a while to realize why I was waking up and going through my days extremely unhappy during my freshman year of college. Even the little kids playing across the street that once made me smile couldn’t fill the empty hole that seemed to keep continuously growing in my heart. The stranger holding the door for me couldn’t even lighten my mood the way they used to. I would go through my days and come back to my room, miserable. I didn't realize the importance of being able to wake up to the sounds of dogs barking outside, the small crack of sunshine that would and its way through the blinders or the janitors who would effortlessly clean our bathrooms everyday with smiles on their faces. I had to be out of my mind to be ungrateful and miserable about my circumstances, while much of the world’s population does not even get to experience even half of such luxuries.
One morning, I got up and decided to make my bed. The dreary days upon days spent in agony felt even lonelier when coming back to a messy bed filled with last night’s tears and unwanted tissues. I decided to go back to my routine, waking up and smiling because I had the whole day to decide what type of person I would be. Could I be someone today that would make a change for the better? Could I help a stranger I see struggling? Could I find happiness in the beautifully blended pink and purple flowers and the beautiful scene of the green and yellow trees signaling the change of seasons to fall? The answer to all of those questions running through my mind was “yes.” Each morning that I got up and tucked in my sheets, set the pillows onto the side of the wall and opened my window shutters to let in the sunshine. I instantly felt brighter, from my core throughout, because I chose to be. I had made a conscious decision to change my own perspective.
Making my bed made me realize that happiness can come from even the smallest acts of kindness. Whether they came from someone I loved or a stranger, I felt a sense of belonging to a community of people who care about each other. Reciprocating these actions only helped to strengthen these social bonds. They developed into resources onto which I could turn to in my strongest times of need, resources I could turn to without them having to do anything at all. My heaviest desire was to give back to these people, who, without even knowing, tore my heart a little more each and every day. I never want to forget the smallest simple acts of kindness in life because that is when I lose all faith in humanity.
It all came back to my bed. Making my bed reinforced the fact that little things in life mattered. It may be a small accomplishment, but its significance set the tone for my entire day. As soon as I did, I stopped hitting the snooze button on my alarms and on my life. I wake up with more purpose, a sense of belonging and happiness that will stay with me each day.
Hoda Shehata is a freshman in the School of Communication and a columnist for The Eagle.