a penny-rich life

When was the last time you observed an ant carry a crumb off your dining table, stopped to watch the clouds move across the sky, or watched a feather flutter in the wind?

Do we miss the pennies lying along the road because we’re too focused on the dollars we want to make? Have we lost the wonder of the penny moments?

I asked myself these questions as I ran today, watching the people going past me. I was trying to distract myself from the pain and torment of running again, after a two week break. Every step I took was agonizing and I asked myself why I was putting myself through this. It seemed as though all those weeks of running prior to my holiday had evaporated into nothingness. Discouraged, I was just about to stop when I decided to look at the world I was passing by.

And all of a sudden, wonder hit me.

There were the huge rats that scampered near the drains, a large grey cat that sat watching me as it cleaned itself, the cool wind that brushed against my skin and the quiet rippling pond that glimmered beneath the moon. It was all so beautiful. I watched the lovey-dovey couples make out on the benches and made up stories about their relationship. There were three men sitting along the edge of the pond, with fishing gear; did they catch any fish? I evaluated the dressing styles of the other runners and tried to guess which were training for marathons, running to lose weight or running because their partner wanted to and they didn’t have a choice.

I watched them leave as I kept putting one foot in front of the other.

Before I knew it, I’d run for an hour.

I slowed down to a walk, changed music and began to dance around the now empty track.

My penny moments had accumulated into a priceless moment. I hadn’t quit.


Every morning, I take the train and observe the people in my carriage. I ask myself if they feel the wonder of life in their existence. Then I look into my reflection on the glass doors and see that my face mirrors theirs exactly. That’s when I break into a smile.

I don’t want to be cynical. I want to be easily awed by every moment that happens – whether good or bad. I want to take delight in the simple things. Like today:

I celebrated when the cleaners did a good job with the toilets in my office. It felt wonderful to step into a fresh-smelling cubicle.

I cheered when we found a table to eat at during lunch, when the food tasted delicious and when my coffee was made perfectly.

I laughed when I found out that I’d been eating expired bread (3 days gone) and sulked when I had a tummy ache after a slice.

I gushed with the video editor over the musical – Wicked, excitedly recalling the moments we enjoyed the most, re-enacting our favourite lines and singing our favourite songs.

I think I overdid it a little when I celebrated a new administrative project that I got landed with. It is not fun. But what the heck.

I shared with everyone the comments I received from the magazine editor regarding my two articles, happy that she liked the concept a lot, although it might get trashed because she wanted a more ‘serious’ tone.

When I finally took the train home, I felt fulfilled although the day was not extraordinarily special. I’d made the moments mean something to me and in doing that, life became precious.

‘Wealth means nothing at all if you do not know, to the last penny, what your fortune is. You might as well be poor if you do not know what you have.’

– Philippa Gregory

What were the special moments you had today?

I’ll give you a penny for your thoughts…

One thought on “a penny-rich life

  1. you’d be surprised at how often i stop to stare at little ants running around my table… and at the green leaves out of my office window 🙂

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