Monday, February 8, 2010

Simple Pleasures

Still Life with Fruit and Lemon
Paul Gauguin

Is there anything more wonderful in life than that first bite into a fresh, juicy orange? Or perhaps it is that first piping hot cup of coffee in the morning. For me, nothing can make my day perfect more than arriving at the bus stop just at the same time the bus arrives, hopping on, finding a seat, and being whisked away to my destination. No waiting ... no standing. Or perhaps it is knowing the people we love are all safe, happy and enjoying their lives. When we really think about our lives, and the things that lift our spirits and give us joy, it's not the big things, but rather the simple things. I'm never happier than when I find the perfect shade of lipstick -- that suits me -- or a bra that fits me and actually "lifts and separates". It sounds a bit shallow, but really, our lives are made up of day-to-day small victories and pleasures. The overall contentment and serenity in life comes in the overall compilation of minor events.

A few years ago I read a book called "The God of Small Things" by Arundhati Roy. The main premise of the book is how the small things in life affect people's lives. In the alternative, the broken shoelace can set us on a path of misery.

For me, a good day is when my house doesn't need dusting or vaccuuming, I have wonderful conversations with my friends, I step on the scale and I have lost a pound or two, and I have found a wonderful book in which to completely lose myself for several hours. Is that a perfect day or what? Who needs les grands événements?

What simple pleasures make you happy?



Brandywine said...

Nothing makes my day quite like a good book and a cup of hot tea. Most days, it is the small things that matter.

The Bug said...

Having uninterrupted time to read blogs - and books! And if I had room to put up a jigsaw puzzle? THAT would be bliss!

Nishant said... nice to see flowers in Feb while right now here it is snowing heavily.

Work from home India

Burcu said...

:) For me the best thing is to be woken up with kisses of my husband to the new day... That makes my day actually.
Or asking him for a glass of water in the middle of the night and bringing it without any complain!:)

A Joyful Chaos said...

How sweet! I agree it's the simple things in life that make it so sweet.

Bruce Coltin said...

Did you happen to see the movie, My Dinner With Andre? Wallace Shawn tells Andre that he is just happy to wake up in the morning and find that a cold cup of coffee that he places on the floor next to his bed each night, is still there when he wakes up and that a cockroach hasn't crawled into it and drowned.

A very simple pleasure.

Anonymous said...

Ahhhh...a good book and a purring cat at my side. And then in the spring/summer...I'm happiest out in the yard snapping pics of butterflies.

Kathryn said...

A walk with a friend on the seawall in White Rock, especially when parking is free in the winter.

Cinnamon toast.

Sitting on the deck with a cup of tea, watching the birds and squirrels.

Freshly washed sheets.

Kathryn : )

TC said...

ooohhh Bruce, a drowned cockroach?
I'm glad to have time for blogs, books, and a cup of tea, a bit of pastry......and INTERNET!

Land of shimp said...

Gosh Jo, there are far too many to name. I think there is a great deal of wisdom in looking for contentment and happiness in the small things that surround us, almost at all times. Whether it's a fragrant candle, or a crisp winter's day, or a sandwich where the lettuce is particularly crunchy. There's a lot of joy to be had.

I think I have probably told you that I like to swim, but I don't think I've mentioned that I swim in the winter also. It requires heating up in the hot-tub and then doing laps. The water is 74 degrees F. in the pool, so chilly, not frigid though). So I go back and forth. There is almost nothing quite like the moment, fresh from the 105 hot-tub where I wade in and then dive under. The water feels incredibly cold in comparison, but so incredibly refreshing.

I know it sounds nuts, and today I was doing that as it snowed, but honestly, it makes me appreciate the simple fact of feeling alive, and well.

It makes me so grateful for, and happy in, the simple act of sensation.


Having a home-cooked meal with family is awesome!

Megs said...

I agree 100%! A little over a year ago, I started my blog and decided that every day I would write down 10 things I was thankful for. I had had a rough year - and it was time to focus on the positive. It sounds hokey, but I think this has changed my life! I don't complain like I used to, I'm always able to see the positive, and I'm genuinely a happier person - for just noticing 10 things a day that made me happy.
It IS the simple things in life that make life such a gift!

Marcos Vinicius Gomes said...

Have a nice and simple day, Jo.
(I dedicate it to everybody too)

Alicia said...

A clean kitchen. A clean kitchen makes my day!

Katy said...

A cup of tea and a good radio program really make my day. This weekend I had time to just sit, listen and sip. It was heaven.


A clean house with the windows wide open; wind-chimes playing, and sunshine.

Looking at pictures of my friends and family.

Burning, fragrant candles.

Creams for my skin that smell wonderful, and make it soft.

A wonderful perfume - I wear perfume 24/7 - even now that I'm retired and don't go out as often as I did, I never give up that pleasure.

Putting my nose into a bouquet of Lilacs or Daffodils - the aroma!

Smelling Gardenias or Hyacinths.

Cooking in my kitchen and tasting the good food.

Getting mail from family and friends - reading it over and over.

Feeling energetic and ready for a full day and night of activity.

Writing a poem.

Playing my piano.

Sketching a picture with charcoal or pastels.

Doing photography.

Hiking in the mountains.

Walking the beach.

Feeding birds and other wild 'critters'.

Reading through old cook-books.

Reading a good biography.

Listening to classical music.

Buying gifts for friends and family and wrapping them.

Seeing children playing on the play-ground.

Anonymous said...

Cuddling on the couch while the cat purrs on my chest. She always seems content. I strive for what she has.

Reading. I adore reading a good book and I am so glad graduate school is over so I have time for all the good stuff!

Sometimes it is hard to remember these things. Funny we posted about a similar topic, in very different ways, but similar.

Nancy said...

I truly believe it's the small things that bring the greatest happiness. The big things are mostly rare - but the little things are happening all around us when we're paying attention to them. Nice post!

DJan said...

I love to watch the birds at my feeders, and look at the brilliant blue sky with fluffy white clouds. Getting a great haircut.

Deedee said...

Wow, Jo! The God Of Small things is one of m favorite books of all time. One more thing we have in common! May you have many a juicy orange in your mornings...

Wolynski said...

You're right, life is made up mainly of small things, unless you're Christiane Amanpour. Einstein didn't think up E=MC2 every day - half his time was spent eating and looking for clean shirts, too.

It's the constant small pleasures...

Susan said...

When you know how to enjoy the simple pleasures, you are a rich woman.
My pleasure comes from knowing I am loved.

Canarybird said...

My day is made up of simple pleasures, often it's enough to just know that I have a few hours free to wander around the garden with my camera or be on my computer.

But one of the best times of my day is after I've cooked a dinner we both liked and washed the dishes, when I put my feet up on a cushion, and the cat climbs on my lap and dear hubby makes me a coffee, brings it to me, and wraps a soft rug over my legs, tucking it under my feet. I can then watch TV and snooze with the cat for an hour or two. Pure stress-free relaxation, and I think of how lucky I am!


the walking man said...

Being, just being.

nomore said...

Whenever I feel myself the simple pleasure..."Washing hands"
From a phobian...

Whitney Lee said...

A hot cup of coffee and a list of blogs to read.

Giggling with my daughter.

A piece of chocolate.

A really good song.

My husband walking through the door.

Eating Mexican with my sister.

I love this post; it reminds me of all the small things for which I'm grateful.

jeannette stgermain said...

Small pleasures? I'll spare you the loooong list:) But some are a balmy day, or a very unusual flower, someone bringing me a Starbucks coffee, more the unexpected little things.

Carol E. said...

Tonight I went out for dinner with a random assembly of people from my church.. we enjoyed delicious food and good conversation. It made my day!

Mia said...

I'm most comfortable in the clouds and under water. Two of the most natural places humans can be.

And I love Gauguin.

Pauline said...

We're on the same wavelength apparently :)

Teri said...

There was a Hallmark show on the other night called "The Miracle of Ordinary Days". I think that is just the most beautiful title.

Ordinary miracles -

My niece's smile.

The titmouse glaring in my window when their feeder is empty.

Sunset on snow.

Puppy breath.

A strawberry; sunwarmed and juicy popped in your mouth.

Paula Slade said...

A sunny day. The sight of a squirrel scampering up a tree, or the song of a bird in the morning. An unexpected phone call from an old friend. A glorious and colorful sunset. No bills in my mailbox. The flash of remembrance of a long-forgotten moment. The smell of a sea breeze. These are things that I treasure and that bring quiet joys.