This summer has been a bit overwhelming and stressful as I've alluded to in a few previous posts. It dawned me the other day that I had stopped enjoying the simple pleasures in my life. I had allowed the stresses and demands to occupy my thoughts for a much too large a portion of the day, and they had pushed out the enjoyment of the day to day.
Enjoying the simple pleasures is only partially about finding things that bring pleasure in the everyday, but it is also about choosing to be content and to enjoy life now. Oh too often my mind goes to the if onlys. If only all the debts were paid, off life would be so easy. If only all the projects were completed, I could relax. If only the laundry were done, the kids and I could have a fun day.
When is there ever a time without outside stresses and long to do lists? There are always circumstances that can make life hard. There are always projects to complete. And laundry? Well, it is never done. If I'm waiting to enjoy life until everything is in place and complete, I have a long, unhappy wait ahead of me.
My list today is my reminder to myself to enjoy the simple pleasures:
1. A Deep Breath Stepping outside and taking a long deep breath or two of fresh air can change my whole outlook.
2. Turning the TV off for the kids When I'm stressed it is so easy to just let them play video games and watch movies. Turning it off does induce a bit of whining, but then they get creative and play with each other. I love watching them play together. Last night they made up their own magic tricks. Earlier this week they created a theme park using our hills and wagon. Much more enjoyable than seeing them zoned in front of the tube.
3. Turning off the TV for the adults I rarely watch TV during the day, but Tim and I have gotten into a bad habit of vegging in front of the TV after a long stressful day. That is ok once in awhile. Turning the TV off and just sitting and talking really is more enjoyable. Doing the next one is even better.
4. Laying under the stars Most nights we have a gorgeous view of the sky. There is just something relaxing about laying next to your sweetie under a blanket of stars. Photo credit: ericamorgan
5. Reading a book Since I started blogging I find my reading time is spent in front of the screen. I do enjoy reading blogs, but it just does not have the same effect as a good book. I picked up a book for the first time in a long time this week. I'd forgotten how enjoyable they are.
6. Watching the animals. We have the equivalent of a petting zoo here. The animals are so interesting to watch, but lately I find myself in drop and run mode when it comes to feeding and caring for them. We have baby pigs that romp around the pasture, and kittens that climb every available tree. I love to watch how the rooster will find a choice bit of food, and then call the hens to eat it. I can spend a lot of time just watching them.
7. A good cry The other day I was reading my book and it hit on a chapter that touched on a situation in my life. I wasn't feeling sad about that topic, or really even thinking of it at all, but I cried like a baby. It felt good. It was cleansing.
8. Hanging the laundry on the line The first spring like days I'm itching to get out and hang the laundry on the line. I love the little get away it gives me, but come July it is just another thing on the to do list. Regardless of whether it is the first load or the 500th of the season, I still should enjoy the quiet outdoor task.
9. Cuddle time with the babies My babies aren't babies anymore, but every now and then they want to sit on my lap and cuddle. Often it is when I am smack dab in the middle of something else, and I brush them off. I need to enjoy it while I can.
10. Cooking with the kids All of the kids want to help me cook. Last night I let them. It actually was enjoyable. Shocking!
11. A walk in the woods We live in a place we once dreamed of. Granted things are not exactly the way we planned, but it is shameful how infrequently we go out an enjoy the property we have. We are always too busy working on the property to enjoy it.
12. Chocolate Need I say more?
13. Getting up before the kids The day is just better when I have time for a cup of coffee or two before the kids get up. I really enjoy that time, and have been missing it.
Enjoying the simple pleasures is about taking the time and making the choice to enjoy what is in front of you now instead of constantly longing for something else. What simple pleasures do you enjoy?