Offbeat gratitude.

I never used to buy flowers.

We had flowers in abundance back home, but they all came from my mom’s garden. When I moved out, I remember there being a few times when I or a flatmate would pick up some flowers in the store, but it wasn’t often. Maybe it just seemed like too much money to spend on something that would wilt and die within a few weeks.

But lately I’ve been adding flowers to my cart when I’m out picking up groceries, and it surprises me how happy I am to see them most days. Usually multiple times a day, even.

Is it weird to say that I may have hitherto undervalued flowers? Not gardens—those have always been near to my heart—but indoor flowers. The ones that come in pots or as part of a bouquet. They always seemed a little frivolous to me, but now I regularly include them in my grocery budget as a matter of course.

Part of that comes from getting them from Trader Joe’s, where they cost about $5, and that’s about my current threshold for purchases I don’t have to justify to myself. It’s a small revelation that such a simple happiness can be so cheap.

Do you know what else is the best? Socks without holes.

Seriously: I don’t know if I have extra long toes or really sharp nails, but somehow I poke holes in socks at a ridiculous rate. Often in under a half-dozen wears. As a result, I’ve spent half my life with the tip of my big toe in the choke-hold grip of perforated knit cotton. For a while I tried darning my socks just to not deal with this problem, but in the end I couldn’t keep up.

Then, three years ago, I bought a set of medium-weight crew socks from Target. They stayed part of my regular rotation all year long, and only recently wore through after much traveling and dedicated service. I made a special trip to Target today (a store I otherwise rarely visit) just to buy more socks.

Which is great and all, but it begs the question: why don’t I buy new socks more often?

Here’s another one: pens that work. I hate writing with dry pens. They are seriously the worst. Followed by pens that smear, pens that leak, and scratchy pens that leave lines in your paper but aren’t all that readable when you write with them. A little while ago I decided I’d had enough of it, and invested about ten bucks on a box of my favorite gel click pens with a rubber grip. I’ve spread them out between my room, my bag, and my offices so that I’m basically never short of them. Living a life of luxury, you guys.

Most of us spend a lot of time making do. I’ve definitely had times where I didn’t have even five bucks to drop on socks or flowers or pens because I needed that money for something else. I’m really grateful to be in a position where that’s mostly not the case anymore. But it’s strange to me that, no longer having to stress about small expenses, I’m still forget how many irritations I could eliminate—or how many joys I could accumulate, for less than ten dollars.

Would that all life’s problems could be solved with a fiver.

Everyone says that it’s the little things in life that bring the most joy. But I’m not even talking about the kind of little things like curling up with a book and a warm mug of cocoa. I mean not having to go through multiple pens to find one that works. Having circulation in all your toes. And yes, having a spot of greenery indoors.

I remember to be thankful for good food and time with friends. I’m not often thankful for my socks.

I am today. For socks without holes, pens that work, trash bags that perfectly fit their containers, tupperware with matching lids, plastic wrap that doesn’t stick to itself, lightbulbs that last, and hot water that doesn’t run out.

And yes, for flowers, too.

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