The poem pulls me in two directions. The first is a depressingly realistic outlook on life, but the second opens my eyes to a positive outlook on seemingly mundane daily events.
I have always been a realistic person. Even as a child I saw the world through a literal and pessimistic lens. Perhaps it was that I valued science and could only see the facts or maybe it came from my father's influence. Ultimately, I grew up seeing the world as half-empty and always acknowledged the fact that everything comes to an end.
Of course, this line of thought inevitably bring me to the existential question: If everything will end, what is the point? I will typically abandon my train of thought once I have traveled sufficiently far down the rabbit hole. Although I have yet to find an answer, I continue to pursue this question.
I find the speaker of the poem and myself share a realistic outlook on life. Nothing is permanent, good or bad, it always could have been otherwise. Life is ephemeral and good- or misfortune is exactly that: fortune. No matter what life is, it could have been otherwise; yet, it was not.
I have arrived at the second view, a more positive one. Every small thing the speaker mentions reminds me of my hectic daily life. Everyday I wake, eat a light breakfast, drive in to school, don the necessary dress code, attend classes, see my friends, eat in the dining, spend my afternoons singing, eat dinner with my family, and sleep in my own, warm bed. I also spend a large portion of my day obsessively scheduling my day to the minute with a 20-color array of pens and special ordered personal calendar. Between the minutes of every daily commitment I have never written "Appreciate the small things".
The poem forces me to consider what my life would be like if I took the time to appreciate small things like walking between classes with my friends and cuddling with my cat. Though I know it would be different, I am not sure if it would be better. I thrive off of the need for efficiency my lifestyle creates.
Though the poem inspires me to be thankful for everyday and take time to appreciate simple joys, the other viewpoint will pull me away. I know I will always see the world through a lens of realism. The first view can be more depressing, but I find a strange sense of comfort in knowing otherwise is inevitable.