As many TGB readers noted on the posts I wrote about my cancer, small pleasures are closely related to the idea of living in the moment.
We usually develop an appreciation of such commonplaces throughout our lives but are so busy in our midyears that we hardly recognize their importance.
Nevertheless, they accumulate over time. Here are a few that never fail to please me.
Hot showers. Twice in my life, men I was dating thought it was a sexy idea to shower together. Hmmmph. They both suffered from the same malady: to me, what they called hot felt like jumping into a flowing river in January.
But alone, ahhhh - the hot, hot water pouring over my head and shoulders and down my body from above, perhaps just a tad too hot so that it becomes almost a meditation. It is sublime and best of all, I get to do it every day.
A great perk of being retired is snuggling in bed on a cold, winter morning. Even though in retirement there is nowhere I need to be, I still feel a little giddy, like I'm getting away with something, and the bed (why is this?) is never more comfortable than just before rising.
Cat watching. As much time as they spend sleeping (some say 17 hours a day), cats are busy little creatures when they are awake.
There is a lot of “laundry” to do keeping their fur groomed and if you pay attention you will see that they pause now and then to stare into space – as though the licking maybe makes them high.
Cats are especially fascinating when they don't know you're watching but even then, it's hard to catch them doing anything that isn't as graceful as a ballerina. Which is, of course, what make it so funny when they miscalculate a jump.
It's even funnier when they know you've caught them being ungainly and they try to pretend they planned it that way.
Full moon. For reasons I don't know, it seem more beautiful in winter than summer; I never tire of seeing a full moon etched against the dark sky on a cold, clear night – like someone hung it up there just for me.
What a pleasure it is to have a book you can't put down and strain to keep your eyes open while reading in bed at night, eager to find out what's next. Even better is looking forward to getting back to such a book later after you did fall asleep while reading.
Ice cream. Need I say more?
New-fallen snow early in the morning. I will quote myself on this one as I wrote it 12 years ago:
”Is there anything better than waking in winter to the special hush a new snowfall brings to the big city? It is different from silence. Listen carefully and you will find that the sound of the quiet can be heard, especially at dawn.
“It is irresistible then to bundle up in layers, pull on a fur hat and go out into the street just as the sky is turning from black to sapphire blue - and be the first on my block to make footprints, and even an angel, in the snow.”
That worked in New York City and I miss it now. We don't get enough snow in northwest Oregon to be able to hear the silence, and certainly not to make a snow angel.
The first crocuses. What you can take pleasure in in Oregon, however, are the first crocuses that surprise me every year when they peek their purple or white heads up when you think it's still too early for them to bloom. They always makes me smile.
Here is a little video dissertation I found on the importance of small pleasures.
When small pleasures really pay off, I think, is in our late years when natural decline or illness can prevent our grander pleasures, especially physical ones.
What are your favorite small pleasures?