• Mary Anderson

Yes, the Small Stuff Matters

How many times have you heard someone say not to sweat the small stuff? Well, I’m here to tell you the small stuff matters a lot.

For starters, that single grain of sand in my boot can become an incapacitating blister if I don't deal with it. The same with a hot spot I feel on my foot. The big climbs are seldom the ones that get me down. I’m prepared for them mentally and get into a rhythm. It’s the constant small ups and downs and the in-and-out of washes that wear me down. I think this is true in relationships as well. If we don't deal with the small, irritating things, they can grow way put of proportion.

It is also true for most things in life. While the large events can have a lasting impact, it is the small nitty-gritty events that keep us going day by day: the mundane meals, the hug from a friend, the pleasure of seeing our child succeed.

Out here on the trail, the views and tiny spring flowers are what keep me going, along with the messages from friends back home. A 160-character text message may seem like a small thing, but when I get one out here it helps me forget the pain in my feet and gives me renewed vigor to go on.

I want to remember not to get discouraged when I feel I don't do enough in the world. The small things we do for each other really do matter—a smile, a thank-you, holdng a door. As long as I do some small good each day, perhaps that is enough.

Never underestimate the power of some small kindness. We can all think of at least some to perform each day.


Mary Anderson is writing a book about her trek along the 3,000-mile Continental Divide Trail, a journey of healing that she began in her sixties. Mary hiked the southern half of the trail in 2020 and is undertaking the northern half in 2021. Read more of Mary's story.

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