There Is So Much Meaning In The Little Things

I watched a Tasty video yesterday demonstrating how a Japanese master makes soba. For anyone who doesn’t know, soba is a type of noodle that is common in Asian dishes. If you haven’t had them, I recommend trying them. You may not agree, but I’ve personally never met a noodle I didn’t like. I think that’s enough of a reason to give soba a shot.

Anyway, as I was watching the video, I noticed that the whole clip was about how the noodle master had a full-on, detailed relationship (if you will) with soba.

He described the four-step process that it entails to make soba in a really in-depth, metaphorical way. He’s quoted saying, “I use the balance of my body to bring the dough together,” and, “I met soba for the first time when I was 19,” and, “soba has changed my life.” The noodle master even said that he had a “connection” to soba that he’s never felt with anything else.

Yes, we are talking about a man and his love for noodles, so you may be thinking, “It’s just food, right? It’s going to be chomped on, eaten, and digested the same way a McDonald’s burger is devoured. Why must he romanticize it?”

Let me start off by saying nothing someone finds passion in is ever “just.” Soba is not “just” food for this man. They’re not “just” noodles. To me, to you, to the next Joe Shmoe, they may be, but to someone who dedicates their life to perfecting the art of noodle making, it’s not “just” soba.

This video also made me think about the fact that if I were to watch it alongside someone who thought the master’s relationship with soba was dramatic, would they think the same down the line about other things?

It made me think about couples who live together and get upset about the little things that can be seen as “insignificant” simply because the nature of that little thing is rather valueless.

Like, for example, when a wife yells at her husband because he didn’t put the cap back on the toothpaste or because he didn’t fill up the Brita before putting it back in the fridge. The little things, you know. The things that the husband can turn around and say, “It’s just toothpaste, for crying out loud! Calm down!”

But it’s not “just” toothpaste. It’s not “just” the Brita. Yes, in that moment, at that specific time, it was the toothpaste or the Brita, but there’s so much more to it than that.

See, you can downplay anything this world has to offer. Noodles, toothpaste, a jug of water—whatever you want. You can make it so insignificant and meaningless that it’s virtually worthless to you. And that’s fine. If that’s how you want to live, by all means, do so. No one is stopping you.

But at the same time, you can breathe life into the smallest things just as easily. You can see past their littleness and into their significance with the slightest change in perspective. That’s possible, too.

Because when you break it all down, soba can be an exquisite dish that brings people together. It can be the reason the same group of friends go back to the same restaurant once a month to catch up and spend time together. And toothpaste to a dentist? A tooth-saving invention. Have you ever brushed your teeth without toothpaste? Probably not (I hope), but say you didn’t know you needed toothpaste to clean your teeth. Your dentist would know exactly what to prescribe to up your dental hygiene game.

So you can see how one time, when my friend was hyping up my blog (even though I beg her not to say anything to people when I’m around) to a guy I had just met— when she pointed to a bottle of water on the table in front of us and said, “You see this? Taylor can write something so deep about just this water bottle, and you’ll finish reading whatever she wrote and see it in a whole new way,” all I wanted to say was, “I royally hate you for bringing up my blog” and “I love you more than life” at the exact same time, but truthfully, all I could think of was, “It is never ‘just’.”

There is meaning in the little things in life. A lot of meaning. So if you haven’t found joy in the little things yet, that should be more than enough reason for you to try soba.