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Celebrate the Small Stuff

Celebrate the Small Stuff

Celebrate the Small Stuff

Meet one of my resident red bellied woodpeckers. I’ve named him Woody. His mate is Winnie. Actually, I call all the male woodpeckers Woody and females Winnie, whatever species they are. Because I’m original when it comes to names.

New interests with COPD

One of the newfound interests I’ve developed since being diagnosed with COPD is bird watching. It’s something I can do inside while looking out the window onto my grove. Or I can sit in the garden and the yard and watch them. I’m always thrilled when a new type of bird comes to visit, and I’m always thrilled when a favorite bird of mine comes to visit, like Woody and Winnie.

The other day I was in my back yard and found that the couple had made their nest in the dead branches of a nearby tree at the corner of the yard. I was so excited! I mean, here was a chance to see babies and follow how the family grows and disperses. And I could photograph them! (Photography is another interest I’ve developed since getting COPD.) Whoo hoo! O delightful day!

I felt like celebrating

But the absolute, unequivocal, very best part was that I could actually walk the 100 or more feet down to the tree. I’d been taking walks to exercise and build up some stamina and it had worked! I felt like celebrating.

So I did.

But it got me to thinking. For healthy people being able to walk through the back yard is probably not remarkable. To them, it’s probably actually commonplace and not worth buying a new book to mark the occasion. It may even seem silly to them.

I don’t care.

My accomplishments might seem small to others but they are huge to me

I am very aware that I can’t do what I used to, I can’t achieve what I used to, and the standards of a society full of healthy people are much higher than I can reach. I’m sick, I know I’m sick, and I know what challenges I have. Walking distances is one of them. So when I’m able to conquer my big back yard it’s a huge accomplishment to me.

And that’s what matters.

And that’s what’s worth celebrating.

So why shouldn’t we pat ourselves on the back for making progress, no matter how small? Why shouldn’t we enjoy the little things, like finding a woodpecker nest? We should.

We need all the great feelings that we can get

And why should we? I’m glad you asked; I’ll tell you. Our illness is not easy. It can be downright horrible. We can sometimes deal with a lot of bad feelings, not only physically but mentally such as depression and anxiety. So when we reach a goal, no matter what it is, it helps us to feel better about ourselves. Accomplishing something is a great feeling. And we need all the great feelings and positive thoughts we can get. Those never hurt and they usually help.

It can be tough to just get through the day

So if you got out of bed today, good for you. If you took a shower, or read a book, or learned something new, good for you. If you went for a walk, good for you. If you went for a swim, or went to pulmonary rehab, or went to the store, good for you. If you’re able to work, good for you. If you were cheerful today, good for you. If you conquered some of your anxiety or felt less depressed, good for you. If you were kind to someone or said something nice, good for you.

And most of all, if you got through the day, good for you.

Celebrate it.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.


  • sue1941
    10 months ago

    Hi, Michelle . . . I hope you know how much you lift others’ spirits, including mine. I have copied all your articles and put them onto my lap top’s desk top, and I know I will look them over again from time to time just to get that good feeling again. Thank you!

  • racehorse
    10 months ago

    I found your story very inspiring, I am bookmarking it to read mornings to remind me I am not alone with COPD, one can enjoy life and to concentrate on what you can do.

    Out My Window

    Out my 3rd floor window there is a row of 20 giant pine trees about 12 feet apart. In the winter, when the needles have thinned out, you can see a train about 3 miles away, but now the branches have grown together and the pine needles as so thick this July that you don’t see anything but trees. The branches come close to about 3 feet tomy window and I can set and have my coffee and watch the pinecones grow. Thanks to all the rain, here is a finecrop of them this year.

    I did not pay much attention when I was healthy,
    but the beauty of the trees and the pinecones are truly worth celebrating. I look out and do my deep breathing exercises and just have joy in the moment, and there is always that fun event when a bird gets on another birds branch or one squirrel chases another.

    Rose Kennedy said “Life isn’t a matter of milestones, but of moments.”

    At the end of the day, I lay in my recliner and count the things I am thankful for, I find this soothing.

  • luvmylife1948
    10 months ago

    Michelle this is a lovely well written story of encouragement through life’s challenges. Nature is one of the marvelous ways we can connect with and see life through nature and appreciate the things in life we can take for granted or not even notice because we are absorbed with pain or illness and can’t come out of this. We all get stuck from time to time from where we are at.
    So much to be thankful for despite life’s trials and tribulations. I am thankful every morning I wake up and live to see another day. Thankful my children are healthy and free. Count our gains and not our losses. Write our failures in sand and our achievements in stone.

  • bunnymusic60
    10 months ago

    I’ve been finding easier things that make me happy for 17 years, ever since I went on oxygen. I can no longer take care of my garden but I can have house plants. I love TV and my computer and my cats and dog. So I’m just happy being here with my gang and if it’s hot we live with the AC. If it’s cold we have heat. So we are happy to be together in a happy place. Thanks for this woodpecker story. I have a hummingbird feeder right outside the window and they are awesome.

  • Steven Workman
    10 months ago

    Michelle Vincent I absolutely love this article! I’m guilty of not celebrating the wins because my brain still compares them against healthy people, but you are absolutely right. And your positivity is downright contagious! Thank you for this article, and congratulations on the new hobby! Best wishes!
    Steven Workman (moderator)

  • Julie
    10 months ago

    Thank you so much for your article it truly is inspiring and came at a very low time for me. Had my husband read it as well, I was looking at all the things I can’t do instead of celebrating the things I can do. I have had COPD since 1995 and in end stage, last few years. I always complain that taking my shower is all I can do for the day. Just 6 months ago I could shower and then go dinner with friends. As my husband says you are not super woman anymore so lets be happy you are verticle and can enjoy the little things you do. Thank you for your inspiring article it truly has given me a new perspective, I think we need to celebrate!!!. Pat02 expresses this so well, look around and enjoy what you can do. Bless you and wish you well.

  • pat02
    10 months ago

    Thank you so much for sharing this with us, it has made me stop and think all the things I can still do and enjoy. I realize that I should celebrate that today I was able to make a bed, which is getting very hard. You gave me a chance to look around and see things in my life I can celebrate. Thank you and have a blessed day..Pattie

  • Leon Lebowitz, BA, RRT moderator
    10 months ago

    Hi pat02 (Pattie) and thanks for letting us know the value you found in Michelle’s article. We so glad you feel this to be so useful to your everyday life.
    Warm regards,
    Leon (site moderator0

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