On Surrounding Yourself with Beauty

I saw the most beautiful bike rack last week.

A myriad of different colors all twisted together, the end trailing upwards into a giant leaf, providing shade.

It was gorgeous.

It seems silly calling a bike rack pretty, but it was a great reminder that beauty and functionality are not mutually exclusive.

Sometimes, a beautiful thing’s function is to simply be beautiful. There are other times, though, when something of function can have beauty. I think that finding happiness in little things comes from the times the two collide.

A lot of things in my life are divided into either “functional” or “beautiful,” “practical” or “pretty.” I often don’t spend the extra time, money, or effort to infuse my practical things with beauty. Perhaps it is because I often don’t deem it worthwhile. It seems silly sometimes to make things unnecessarily pretty. Notebooks get used whether they have a patterned cover. A plain tshirt works just as well as a cute one. Arranging food on a plate does not make it more edible.

The city could have designed the bike rack to be just a normal bike rack. However, by designing it to be both beautiful and functional, they added a unique element to the city that brightens residents’ daily life.

Maybe we are too often looking for the big happy things. We focus on the perfect job, spouse, or house. We are searching for the Mona Lisa of happiness, but miss the sidewalk chalk art along the way.

Surrounding yourself with beauty isn’t just about surrounding yourself with paintings and sculptures. It’s about taking pride in everything you do, using it as an opportunity to make the things you use and see on a daily basis beautiful. When you see beauty on a daily basis, it’s easier to see the beauty in things that maybe aren’t so beautiful. To appreciate beauty, you have to know what it looks like.

A little more time, a little more effort is worth the trade, I think, for a little more beauty.

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