A juice cleanse for the soul

I’ve started to notice a trend taking hold. In addition to the revival of Air Force One sneakers and flare jeans, my opinion pieces might be a little more like rants about the misfortunes of my time at New Trier rather than hearty column writing.

So this piece could serve as its own form of “cleanse” from my streak of academics-induced angst of which our newspaper’s Perspectives section happened to be on the receiving end.
And on the note of cleansing, this past spring break, I suspect I inadvertently kind of had one.
Juicing, a popular kind of bodily “cleansing” that’s captured the attention of many an adult or teen quite recently, is acclaimed to detoxify, energize, and rejuvenate the body (there is debate around whether that’s medically true, however).

I’d thought that I’d never embark on this juicing journey myself (despite the temptation of Peeled Juice Bar’s array of smoothies the one time I could afford to visit), but I realized in the wee hours of the morning a couple of days ago that I have, in fact, juiced. Pretty thoroughly, at that.

Except instead of detoxifying my mind and body through ingesting liquid produce, the Small Details of Life decided to compress itself into a form of juice for my soul. To my astonishment and now gratitude, my soul gave it a try.

And yes, that statement does ooze with cheesiness. It’s essentially a glorified form of “it’s the little things in life,” a platitude that’s been stamped onto one too many Hallmark cards.

After all, how could the little things be our central focus or recipient of appreciation when we’re tied up with handling the big things? What college we’re going to commit to, whether we’re going to college, what we want to study or what work we want to pursue next year, the IHSA state championship for any number of varsity sports, financial stress—life couldn’t stop filling itself with huge decisions, well-deserving of our anxiety, if it tried.

But I found that the trick to making the little things matter is that there is none. To realize the significance of the Small Details of Life happens in a snap of the fingers, as if it spontaneously combusted and consumed you whole—at least, it went that way for me. Out of the blue, the Small Details of Life juice creates itself. Out of the blue, you take it.

Over break, I felt extreme levels of happiness as a result of wholly minuscule interactions. The wheezing that punctuated my sister’s laugh as she dropped a slice of beet on the floor. The sun peeking over the fence in the backyard. The wit hidden beneath my friend’s sarcasm over text. Breathing, and hearing my dog sitting beside me breathing, and knowing we’re both just here. Alive. Moving. Loving. Remembering the lights of the city smile through the translucent plane window on a Delta flight.

It might even be inaccurate to call the Small Details of Life a juice, per se. It’s more like a pair of 3D glasses, a jarring but pleasant filter through which to watch everything unfold that you don’t always happen to wear.

I don’t know if the happiness I felt was a souped-up version or an entirely distinct species of happiness, but whatever it was, it was ethereal. It makes you feel so whole, so packed with an unnamed joy, that you want to explode just so you can put yourself back together again.

A joy beyond receiving an A on an AP Calculus BC test (which I cannot quite attest to) or a driver’s license (which I also cannot attest to); a joy that can wash out the big things, even if just for now.

Man, if pixie dust is real, someone dumped it into the Small Details of Life juice.
I guess the moral of the story is that we all could use a sip of this juice more often than we currently do. In fact, possibly even everyday. This happiness is so unique, so rare that it deserves to be commonplace.

So enjoy that next cup of coffee or the frosting on the Jewel-Osco cupcakes or the smile on your younger sibling’s face in that split second you guys stop fighting, and love the moments for being moments. Moments that you can see, register, feel—over and over and over as long as you’re here.

As Life is Good™ says, Life is Good.