The older I become, the more I’m appreciating the simple pleasures in life. I wish I could say I was reverting back to them, but I wasn’t anywhere near as emotionally intelligent in my youth as I am today.
As time marches on, I’ve lowered my expectations and have changed my goals to be more achievable. Fifteen years ago I thought buying a $300 pair of shoes every other month would make me happy. Instead, it left my wallet empty and my feet with blisters. Now, I’m content with scoffing a couple of packets of Mi Goreng on the couch while watching House Hunters. The cost? $1.40 (from Coles, I checked). The thing about simple pleasures is that they are often cheap or free, therefore doable on a regular basis and if they’re doable on a regular basis they can transform your life if you make sure to embrace them. They’re like mini breaks or little shots of endorphins that keep you going and allow you to mentally reset, and in the current climate of the world, an already overcomplicated world, we need them more than ever to help us get through the daily grind.
It always seems easier for us to express what we don’t like and want, rather than what we do like and do want, so I thought lets flip things around for once. The following are some simple pleasures that I love, but instead of the common ones like beach sunsets, music and a good cup of coffee, I thought I’d share some of my more unusual ones. Some friends of mine have also kindly shared theirs as well.
Bunches of flowers
First off, they look good, smell nice and transform a room. Its like bringing a bit of nature inside the home. And they don’t have to be expensive. My favourite ones are daisies (like Meg Ryan’s character in ‘You’ve Got Mail’ and I will not hear a bad word about that movie) for $10 from Farmer Jacks. Just a side note: the flowers from there last two to three weeks longer than flowers from other grocery stores. I was raised to believe that traditionally, men are supposed to buy them for you, but I like the feel of independence when I buy them for myself. Having said that, if any men read this, they are an incredibly effective and romantic gift, but only get them out of spontaneity and when you haven’t fucked up. They lose all their magic when a woman asks for them or they’re constantly associated with negativity.
I know they’re not native and they make a mess but hear me out. The vibrant purple flowers combined with a clear blue November sky as a back drop, in a picturesque street, in a suburb like Subiaco is visually heavenly. I also think its because they only bloom at a time of year that falls right between my birthday and Christmas when the weather is warming up, but its (mostly) a heat I can tolerate, so I affilate them with peaceful walks and whats generally a happy time of year.
I love looking at Perth’s skyline, particularly from Kings Park or the river. It reminds me of what the city use to be like, how its evolving, where I’ve been away from it. I think especially over the last 18 months, seeing it makes me really appreciate how lucky and protected we’ve been compared to most places in the world. Its comfort. Its home.
Waiting to take off and inbetween the captain announcing the descend and landing
The expectation of adventure, of trying new things, seeing new places, meeting new people or seeing old faces again. I can’t wait to experience this feeling again.
I’m a weirdo who 90% of the time will sit on the floor of the shower. Its so relaxing and feels like I’m under a hot waterfall. Yes, I’ve had male housemates. No, I don’t want to think about it.
Cozy restaurants and good service
I get anxious in large crowds and I love food, so give me a small (but still busy) restaurant that has hearty, home style cooked food and I’m so happy. Put me in a damn food coma. Throw in good service (in a country where staff don’t need to work extra hard for tips because they’re paid a decent minimum wage) and you have a customer for life. Bonus points for family run restaurants because they tend to have more history and soul, and fireplaces because I prefer cold weather and if they’re on then its cold. And just on the subject of restaurants and food, there’s something incredibly satisfying in cracking the top of a crème brulee. I’m going to crack one this weekend actually.
Scoring something from a Buy Nothing page, Facebook Marketplace or Op Shopping
Its like modern day treasure hunting. The feeling of satisfaction when finding my version of gold for free or a bargain price. It also satisfies my competitive streak. If you follow me on Instagram, you’d know I just bought a house and I’m currently in a state of nesting and will proudly show off all my finds on my stories (I apolgise and promise, like a bad dream, it’ll all be over soon). I also like the sense of accomplishment I feel by saving money to later spend on wine or more things for the house.
I work early hours, so when it comes to the weekend, I try and sleep in and then weather permitting, I’ll sit outside, in my dressing gown, with a coffee and listen to music and ease into the day. I can’t remember the last time I went out for breakfast because I’d much prefer to just sit and be at home.
A new book
There’s just something about the smell and feel of a new, unbent book. The anticipation of an unknown story beneath the cover. The association with rainy afternoons and being cosied up in a armchair with a cup of coffee or glass of wine. Escaping from reality for a short while. Falling in love with fictional characters like Dawsey Adams and Gabriel Oak, who can never break your heart because they’re not actually real.
The sensation of having someone wash my hair and massage my scalp at the salon. On many occasions I’ve almost fallen asleep with my head in a basin due to being so relaxed. I equally love when someone asks if you’ve done something to your hair and you say “I washed it”.
Outlandish news headlines
I love to laugh and I make sure I laugh often. Life is short and we shouldn’t take it too seriously (unless of course the situation calls for it).With my work, I’m always trying to stay updated with the news and unfortunately the majority of it is quite depressing. Occasionally though, a headline will be so random, so shocking, it’ll send myself and my colleagues into a fit of giggles. The most recent one I saw was literally two days ago: ‘Swingers arrive to four-day countryside sex festival with BDSM demos and clay pigeon shooting’. SORRY WHAT?! Why clay pigeon shooting?! We also like to guess if a story is from Florida or not, because that place is a goldmine for weird shit happening.
And what simple pleasures do my friends enjoy….
“Floating in water and the moment the water fills my ears and all the sounds drift away. Nothing compares to the relaxation I feel in that moment”.
“Driving in the car and listening to music turned up loud and singing. It makes me feel light and happy and like I don’t have a care in the world. Takes me back to my teens and 20’s when music was everything and such an escape”.
“Every time I take the bins out at night, I always stop and stare at the stars and moon and breathe in the night air. It’s something I find so grounding and just completely relaxes me in the moment”.
“Just with everyone and everything being so loud and busy its nice to be alone and quiet just to reflect and regroup. Especially if you can do that at the beach as the sounds of waves crashing is so peaceful and calming”.
“Seeing birds and bees in my garden. I had such a pleasant moment watching a honeyeater fly by me and land on my aloe vera flower and drink the nectar from the flowers. It was such a joyful moment because I’d been growing that aloe vera for over a year and it was its first time flowering and it felt like the bird and I were there for similar reasons, to enjoy the garden for what it had to offer that day”.
“Fresh sheets, dimly lit rooms with nice smelling candles, the smell and sound of the rain, the smell of fresh coffee, first sip of wine, a cuddle, driving along the coast. I think all of these things because they’re multi-sensory experiences and feel so relaxing”.
“The shards of light that comes through the sky when the morning sun comes through clouds”.
“Cracking an egg perfectly. Seeing an animal in the wild. When someone tells me I have made their day”.
“Post 10pm Saturday night high, deep house sessions because for a few hours out of a week devoted to the gods of productivity the monkey mind is put to bed. The only thing left to anticipate is the percussion of the music whereas listening to the melody is to be free of anticipation all together”.