It doesn’t take much to bring joy to my life. Sometimes as a matter of fact, it is nothing more than realizing that something as simple as generic soft drink can really make a difference. There have been at least two instances in my life where generic soft drink has brought joy and in all three cases, I will be the first to admit that I could not have seen it coming.
When I was a college student, money was tight. It wasn’t only tight for me, but for my entire family as they were trying to be sure I could get through college. I drank a lot of iced tea and water during those years to save money. While home on Christmas vacation, I always tried to help out as much as I could with household bills and chores. So, one day I went shopping for a few groceries and decided to splurge on a 12-pack of store brand soda. My family was elated that night as we all sat around eating popcorn and drinking a generic soda. Something so simple had became a true treat in our household and created a very holiday like environment.
After that instance, I often wondered if the impact would have been different if I had been able to afford Coke or Pepsi instead of the generic soft drink. More recently than my college years, I was at a family reunion. Everyone was enjoying the beautiful day, the children were running around playing, and it was really a good time. Not being the cook of the family, I was asked to bring a variety of beverages. I brought iced tea, lemonade, and a few cases of generic soft drink for everyone to share. The true joy of deciding on the generic brand was during the clean up later that day. Children being children, they open soda and wander off to play. As I cleaned up can after can of half full generic soda, I couldn’t help, but feel smug that I hadn’t paid more money for what was about to be poured down the drain.
Life is what we make it. It isn’t about money or the top brand of every item we see. Instead, it is about making due with what we have and can afford. For me and my family, that has sometimes meant generic soft drinks and I only hope that my children will one day find joy in something so simple.