Appreciating Life’s Simple Pleasures
“Today is your big moment. Moments, really. The life you’ve been waiting for is happening all around you. The scene unfolding right outside your window is worth more than the most beautiful painting, and the crackers and peanut butter that you’re having for lunch on the coffee table are as profound, in their own way, as the Last Supper. This is it. This is life in all its glory, swirling and unfolding around us, disguised as pedantic, pedestrian non-events. But pull off the mask and you will find your life, waiting to be made, chosen, woven, crafted.”
– Shauna Niequist: Cold Tangerines: Celebrating the Extraordinary Nature of Everyday Life
I love lists. I always have. My list-making began in bright Lisa Frank notebooks as a child. I have documents of lists on my laptop. Scattered around my house are journals full of lists. I even have a book that’s just a collection of lists to be filled out. So it was only a matter of time before I started putting lists on my blog.
This list was inspired by a post that my friend Jenilee shared on Instagram. It’s such a cliché, but those little fleeting, seemingly meaningless moments make life special. I started thinking about all the little things that make me happy, and this list was born. The more I wrote, the more blessed I began to feel. Without further ado, I present some little things that make me feel warm and fuzzy.
My Simple Pleasures
The perfect cup of coffee – not too weak, not too strong, with a generous splash of cream and a buttload of sugar, in a mug that’s as big as my head.
Fabulous fingernails – especially if I managed to do them myself.
Driving down the road with the windows down, blaring the perfect song on the radio while the wind whips through my curls.
Starbucks – everything about Starbucks. So what if it’s a corporate, sell-out, basic white girl cliché? Just seeing that double-finned mermaid siren queen, that lovely domed cup and bright green straw, makes me stupidly happy.
Caramel Frappuchinos for everyone!
Hearing a group of kids singing along to a good song, especially when it’s unexpected. Once I was playing Pandora during morning work time at school, and the song “Home” by Phillip Phillips came on. Twenty-four sweet little voices all begin singing in unison, seemingly unaware of what they were doing. I was enchanted. And sometimes it’s hilarious! Once during indoor recess, I was suckered into playing the Kidz Bop version of Bruno Mars’ “Uptown Funk.” Suddenly my classroom broke out into a full-fledged music video – every child in the class was dancing. I’ve never seen anything like it.
The low rumble of a friendly cat purring in my lap.
The luxurious freedom of a day off, with no responsibilities, commitments, or chores.
The gentle pressure of a big dog leaning against my leg as I pet him.
Finding a song that perfectly captures my mood, be it joyful, blue, angsty, chill, or confident. If you haven’t tried it before, you must check out Songza.com – perfect playlists sorted by mood, activity, and genre!
(Know what’s even cooler? After one little ad before your music begins, there are NO COMMERCIALS!)
When someone plays with my hair and shivers run down my spine because it is SO RELAXING.
A warm hug from someone I care about… The embrace of a good friend that I haven’t seen for a while…
A bear hug from Dad when I go home to West Virginia… Hugging ANYBODY who smells really good…
I could go on!
The crack of a cold can of Coca-Cola being opened, the bubbles tickling my lips, and the sweetness hitting my tongue.
Getting the wings of my eyeliner perfectly even.
Reading… so many things about reading.
The first moment I turn the page of a novel I’ve been dying to get my hands on.
The decadent luxury of a cozy bed, a good book, and a hot cup of coffee on a rainy day.
The bittersweet pang when I close that book and have to leave its world behind –
Hogwarts, I’m looking at you!
OR the relief that comes from knowing I’m not as screwed up as some of the characters I’ve read about.
*Cough, cough, Gone Girl, We Were Liars, The Girl on the Train, Dark Places…*
Going to the movies and getting absolutely lost in a good story. That moment when the first trailer rolls? YES.
The magical time when dusk falls, the sun has just set, and the fireflies are dancing through the dark air.
When I shave my legs and they feel like silky dolphins!
The first appearance of my “flip flop tan” in the spring. That means summer is on the way!
Recapping episodes of The Bachelor with my nanny… especially when she drops little bon mots like these:
“The way I see it, ever who was meant for you, that’s who you’ll be with. I believe that someone’s out there for everybody.” (She is so wise…)
“If he tries to get fresh, just smack it and say NO THANK YOU!” (She’s a down home version of Betty White!)
These words: “Previously on The Walking Dead.”
Or hearing the opening notes to the Downton Abbey theme.
Also reruns of Friends.
Actually – SO. MANY. SHOWS.
The absolute joy of a three day weekend – especially when I have Monday off!
The incredible satisfaction of crossing the last item off a to-do list.
Photographs – everything about them. Sometimes I wish I’d been a photographer. There’s something magical about capturing an idealized moment in time. Silly poses? Selfies? Pretty sunsets? Stupid cat pics? YES TO ALL. Snapchat and Instagram and Tunepics are my weaknesses. And nothing beats thumbing through a stack of old photos. It’s like a 2D time machine. Whether it’s a shot of my college dorm room, a glimpse of myself and my cousins as kids, or a faded picture of a relative from the past, I am unfailingly fascinated.
Dressing up in costumes. Halloween, a theme party, spirit week at school… if there’s an excuse to dress up and pretend to be someone else, I’M IN.
Catching up with old friends. High school pals, college besties, buddies who have moved away… I miss them all. I completely suck at keeping in touch, but when I do manage to get together with these people? The combination of reminiscing about the good ol’ days and hearing about what they’re up to now is good for the soul.
Being alone. Not as in the “why am I single, I’m totally going to die a spinster” sense of alone, but the “thank God I can take off my pants and sit on my butt and watch The Bachelorette while looking at stupid stuff on Pinterest” sense of alone.
Movie quotes! Funny or sad or poignant, they just make me happy! I love all quotes, actually, but I’ll save more of those for a different post. Here are a few of my favorites:
* I’m kind of a big deal. People know me. – Anchorman (I can quote this entire movie.)
* Here’s looking at you, kid. – Casablanca
* Did you ever think that maybe there’s more to life than being really, really, really ridiculously good looking? – Zoolander
* What is it you want, Mary? What do you want? You want the moon? Just say the word and I’ll throw a lasso around it and pull it down. – It’s A Wonderful Life
* I don’t know if we each have a destiny, or if we’re all just floating around accidental-like on a breeze, but I think maybe it’s both. Maybe both is happening at the same time. – Forrest Gump
* Hold onto your butts. – Jurassic Park
And finally, the feeling of peace that fills my heart, mind, and soul when I’m truly able to focus on
“Be still, and know that I am God.”
I hope reading this has inspired you to think about some of the little things in life that fill YOU with joy.
Please share some of them with me in the comments!