A few months ago I wrote about the Simple Pleasures in my life. Here’s a follow up post with 5 more:
- Sleeping in late – this is especially high on my list, as being self-employed and with two kids, my days are often long, and I work on weekends, too. So the occasional morning of sleeping in is really welcomed. After a couple of intense days, there’s nothing like stretching out early in the morning, look lovingly at one’s partner still in deep slumber, and deciding to catch a few more winks. Next thing you know, it’s 10:30 AM.
- An afternoon nap – almost a corollary to #1: I’m often up late working, or I have to wake up early to get in yet more work. Sometimes, before I pick up the kids, or perhaps during the time they do their after school homework, I sneak in a nap. Oh, so delicious! The bedroom faces towards the west, so we usually get the warm sunshine streaming in, and a short 15-20 minute nap really does wonders.
- Beach revisited – we’re having terrific weather, and yesterday we took the kids out to the beach as a reward for having a great week at school. Being there reminded me of my earlier post, and now I could expand on it. Lying down on the warm sand, with the light ocean breezes sweeping over you is quite nice. Also nice, ironically, is rolling up your pants and getting into the freezing cold water. We were playing “tag” with the ocean, and got totally caught up in it — not to also mention the older kid got totally soaked from falling into the water!
- Riding a bike – I’m not a runner or jogger because my knees complain afterwards, and to me it seems like it’s a lot of work to not get very far very fast. However, riding a bike is different. It can be more leisurely when you want, but also an intense work-out when you want. Plus, you cover more ground. The clickety-click of the gear system, scenery rolling by (Golden Gate Park, especially), all makes for an experience to relax the mind.
- Listening to the kids – Their mom and I often enjoy listening to their conversations, which are often humorous and “cute” because kids say the funniest things (without meaning to be funny, usually). When that happens we just look at each other and smile — much more preferable to scolding them for something bad that they did.
Have a great weekend!
I’m not talking about hitting the lottery, or cashing out on stock options, I’m talking about being an average Joe or Joy, one who either works for someone, or who runs a small business.
My Idea of a Perfect Life
It is one where I:
- Have a profession that I truly enjoy – a job that is stimulating, creative, and pays a little bit more than enough. I do not require vast wealth, just enough to live on, and to save for retirement.
- Spend plenty of time with my kids – to show them the simple pleasures in life, the wonder of our world, the diversity of our culture, and that there’s more to life than TV and video games.
- Periodically travel – to enrich my own experience of the world and its peoples.
- Leave a positive stamp behind – what’s my legacy, will I leave this world a better place than when I entered it, how will people remember me? I hope that this blog will become something worth reading down the line.
- Am fit in body and in mind – a healthy mind and body go hand in hand. Coupled with a good personal and professional accomplishments, I’d say that makes a perfect life.
Where I am
For me, I’ve only (partially) accomplished number 1.
I happen to be self-employed, and enjoy my chosen profession very, very much. It’s my fourth year in business, and I am not yet at the level I want (or need) to be, but certainly a lot farther along than what I originally conceived because I gained a business partner in second year.
I am working towards that first plateau almost every day of the week.
Which, of course, puts the rest of the list on the back burner. It’s not that I don’t do any of 2-5, but rather not I don’t do them in the amount I want — something about not enough time in the day…excuses, I know.
What about you? Do you think my basic criteria is too simple? What are your ideas of a perfect life? Are you living it?
A few clues as to what I believe is one of our most precious possessions:
- It bonds us with our family and friends.
- It is a conduit to our past.
- It enables our habits.
- People can perform great feats because of it.
- It can also debilitate us, if we let it.
- We laugh because of it.
- We cry because of it.
- We rely on it every day.
- Some people willingly deny it as a way to elude responsibility.
- Some people unwillingly lose it.
- It can become sweeter with age.
- Our other possessions are more precious because of it.
- It is more precious than any amount of money, for money would be useless without it.
- It is more precious than even the One Ring.
- It is what we are, it is who we are.
What is it?
Barbara’s comment on my Frame of Mind post reminded me of one of my philosophies of life:
- No Matter How Rich You Become, Someone Will Always Be Richer (unless your name is Bill Gates) – So, live your life without hurting others (and without whining), and maybe help those that are truly in need.
And here’s the corollary:
- No Matter How Poor You Become, Someone Out There Has It Worse - Everyone is entitled to some bad luck now and then, but it’s not the end of the world. Pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and start all over again (great tune, btw).
What do you think?
We live in such a fast-paced society — how often have I said that already this month — I often like to stop and smell the roses, as the proverb goes.
Although, while I’ve actually done that when I was attending university years ago (roses seem to grow really well in Berkeley), these days when I get a few moments in my busy life I am more likely to reflect on other simple pleasures.
Some Simple Pleasures of Life that May Not Be Obvious
- Modern Plumbing – I don’t know about you, but I know I never really appreciate the convenience of the modern bathroom until the toilet gets stopped up, or a drain doesn’t flow. I can’t imagine having to go do it in an outhouse, or worse yet, in a hole with leaves — ech! But really, what a treat it is to have running hot and cold water — it’s really like magic: move a lever, turn a knob, and clean, life-giving water comes out of the spigot. And, along the same lines, there is almost nothing quite as pleasurable as a nice hot shower on a wintry day to chase away the chill in the bones.
- Walking on the Beach – A weekday is best for this, but anyway, just being on the beach on a nice sunny day, barefoot, alone with your thoughts, with the sounds of waves crashing filling the salty-air with an all-encompassing roar to drown out city sounds, I find all the physical sensations to be soothing and calming. The rhythm of the waters seem to put me in tune with the planet, and my thoughts often wander into wonderment of the past as I look upon the sand and rocks, knowing that waves have been and will be pounding away over and over again, and in the grand scheme of things, we humans are just but a speck of sand. It’s really a perfect place to think.
- A Good Book – I’ve already expounded on why I think books will always be around, but I will still mention it in this list, because in such a gadget-heavy society, I still prefer reading a book in bed or my favorite chair, when the kids are asleep, and me and the honey are just working on our own stuff. And as such, that brings me to the next pleasure…
- The Library – I always thought it was cool in some of those computer games about world civilizations that building a Library was one of the “super” achievements that will raise your score — but actually, a library IS cool. We take it for granted in our society, but here is a place filled with tangible vessels of knowledge, entertainment and communication from people in the past. When I’m in a big library, I can sometimes feel the power of all that stored history — or maybe that was the air conditioning…
- Tea – For some it may be coffee, but for me, it’s tea. Sipping a hot cup of good tea allows me to pause what I’m typing, collect my thoughts and my breath, and warm up the insides. If it’s really cold, I can use both hands to hold the cup for a minute or two.
- A Good Chair – When I was growing up, my favorite chair was this green recliner (it was green, so my mom always had it covered with some cloth with a floral arrangement). These days, I have a black, faux leather recliner. What’s great about it is that recliners allow for complete support of my body, all the way up to my neck and head. And for someone who sits in front of the computer all day, I really can’t say enough about taking short breaks on a regular basis. Having a nice chair to go to is quite an enjoyable luxory — just don’t fall asleep!
Seeing Things Before the Goal
Oftentimes we have our eyes set on some prize that’s only attainable with a lot of hard work and dedication, and we always have to be in a hurry to accomplish these goals. But every now and then, it’s a good idea to pause and think about where we are, and what we already have in this world.
What kinds of simple pleasures do you enjoy?