The Little Pieces Of Happiness That Carry On
Does all of this make you happy?
It’ll all be worth it one day, right?
All this time burned to ash, every ounce of effort wrung dry, countless sleepless nights and painful decisions. It’ll culminate into something, eventually, some... home run, a touchdown moment, a bright, beautiful explosion of joy that instantly makes you feel like everything up until this point was worth the sacrifice and the pain. Some strange, nebulous moment that says “You’ve made it”.
That moment might never come. Not for us, anyway-- not for a small business that will never IPO, that refuses investor money, that doesn’t count profit as a measure of success. And maybe it’s hard for you to imagine too.
I’ve never really had a destination with Vite, truth be told. I’ve never had an endpoint, a goal, or a plan for a million dollar exit. I’ve never had a place to take it all, that I could say I’m grinding towards. There’s no tournament to win, no finish line, no final destination to reach.
The world stares at you, demanding an answer. Ever since you were a kid clumsily holding a pencil struggling to read the words “What do you want to be when you grow up?”
“How do you want to change the world for the better?”
I have a fear, see. A fear that nothing I did mattered, and a fear that I won’t be remembered.
After all, I make noodles. I’m not a billionaire tycoon, or a grandiose actor, a groundbreaking scientist, or a famous writer. The noodles I make have a long shelf-life, for food-- 9 months from when we painstakingly make it. But it’s nothing but a blip in the years and generations to come. They will be eaten, the packaging discarded, and fade into nothingness.
Vite Ramen, in the end, is utilitarian in nature, a means to a goal-- I have no illusions about it being a desirable luxury that people tear up on receiving. It’s food.
It’s consumed and thrown away.
I want proof that I existed. That I was here. That I mattered. That in some small way, maybe, the world was changed because I was here.
I had a dream the other day.
There was a child holding a neatly wrapped present dotted with red and orange hues, sitting on the carpeted floor between the warmth of family. The gift was from their grandparents, wisened faces crinkling as they smiled, wordlessly gesturing for the kid to open the present. Their eyes grew wide with excitement, and fingers clumsily tore into the wrapping paper with a hurried frenzy.
They reach inside, and pull out a well-loved bwooper plushie, a little worse for wear, sewn together a couple times and dotted with stains from long-forgotten spills that just refused to be cleaned.
Another present is exchanged, handed this time to the parents-- A knife, bearing a myriad of long scratches along its side from the decades of meals and celebrations, the logo long faded and chipped away, but its blade as keen and sharp and ready as it was the day it was made.
They talk about how they got it, that streamer they loved watching from long, long ago, and their eyes widen and twinkle and the words spill excitedly from their lips and they stand just a little straighter and the old, wisened faces seem just a little younger. They remember the noodles, and the surprising, mouth-numbing spice, and how they ran to the sink, and how they learned to love that tingling and how those noodles got them through some of the busiest times.
Another family a few streets down laughs together, reliving the story of how stressed out they were and only through a series of wild, improbable circumstance did their parents meet each other, and they don’t remember the noodles they ate then, but it doesn’t matter because it happened and they’re happy and someone, somewhere, finds a dumb little commercial in a dusty, crooked corner of the internet no one visits, and laughs, and their world is just a bit brighter watching this perfect little snapshot of that time a passionate, bumbling group of idiots declared they wanted to make the world’s first nutritionally complete noodles even though everyone said that they couldn’t.
And maybe it’s a dumb little post on social media that made someone laugh and gave them just enough energy to make it through that hard day, or a hastily scribbled note of gratitude passed furtively between acquaintances who are soon to become friends, or a compliment on a stranger’s clothes that gives them that final little boost of confidence to finally dress as themselves and not who their parents wanted them to be.
Everything you’ve done, and we’ve done, won’t be worth it one day. Because, the thing is, it’s already worth it.
It’s about the little things. It’s about the happiness we find in between the moments, the smiles and the laughs in the day-to-day. It’s the little gestures of gratitude, the brief instances of connection, the precious sparks of kindness and joy even under the relentless existential pressures we face.
A little is going to add up to a lot. And maybe, it’s these little joys that brighten up the world and matter more than anything else.
Y’know, originally, I had a list of all the things we’ve done over 2023. I was going to write about that, but it felt... hollow. Empty. Sometimes, a celebration of our achievements is warranted and needed, but this time, it just felt... incorrect.
Because I don’t think it’s ever been really about the big things with us.
So for the New Year, I’m going to challenge you to this. You don’t need to put your name, or your email if you don’t want to. It’s there just to speak it out into the world.
Click on the link, and write your answer to one simple thing:
“How will you make the world a little happier?”
Whether it’s telling a joke to make someone laugh, or cooking a warm, comforting meal that melts away the day’s exhaustion, or complimenting a friend’s newfound skills at a hobby they just picked up, or whatever little thing you can think of.
Let’s make the world in 2024 just a little bit happier.
-Tim, CEO/Founder Vite Kitchens