© 2011, Vicki Hinze
WARNING: This is a no-edit zone…
Most of us are really busy, and our Things To-Do have gone from being items on a list, to multi-page documents or even to booklets. We implement all the timesaving techniques and organizational tools we’ve found, and yet we have no more time. Why? Because we fill that generated space with more stuff to do.
We don’t rest enough. We don’t give ourselves sufficient time to just be. To think. To daydream. We don’t relish the simple pleasures. Shoot, most of the time, we don’t notice there are simple pleasures.
At least that’s become my reality, and I seriously doubt I’m alone. It’s hard to do when you work for yourself—there are always a dozen things that need to be done—but it happens when you work for someone else, too. It just happens.
Well, that’s not really accurate. When we discover that some of those pithy wisdoms are rooted in reality, we work harder. You know the ones I mean. Like the one about the harder you work at something the luckier at it you get. Or the one about success being 99% perspiration and 1% inspiration. There’s a lot to be said for numbers. There is a reason math is said to be the basis for life as we know it, and doubling our failure rate does indeed increase our success rate. We learn and grow with each attempt, so it’s logical to conclude if we try more often, we’ll be successful more often.
But that doesn’t mean we can afford to let ambition and drive become so dominant in our lives that we do not rest and regenerate and refill our personal well. Or that if we do let ambition and drive become dominant, we won’t pay a price for it. We will.
The price starts typically in our emotions. We’re not happy. We’re dissatisfied. We’re not content. Suddenly something we loved is no longer a labor of love but of work. We’re chained to our desk. Married to our career. We wake up and look around and realize everything not specifically work-related has been culled from our lives. And then we’re upset. Now we’re into impacting our health, and the downward spiral begins.
We’re out of balance. And it’s at that realization, we know we’ve arrived at a critical juncture in our lives. (Not our careers, our lives.) And being at that critical point, we have to choose: do we stay the same, sink deeper into that dissatisfaction, or do we change? And if we do change, we change into what?
The key is in balance. It’s kind of like salt. Eat too much and you get high blood pressure. You retain fluids. Blood pressure too high or too much fluid retention impacts the heart’s ability to beat and function properly. Messing with that can kill you. Eat too little salt and you deplete it from your body, which can result in convulsions and/or death. It’s a mess. You need a little salt… but not too much. Moderation. You need moderation.
As it is with salt, it is with life. A bit of this, a bit of that—just as the old saying goes: “Variety is the spice of life.” Variety is moderation.
Okay, so this has been on my mind for a while now. I will seek better balance in my life. I could go back to see when I first wrote that on my To-Do list, but I don’t feel like flipping through the pages to find it. I’m just saying… The point is it’s there. It entered my mind and stuck long enough to get written down.
But I didn’t do anything about it.
Well, two days ago, I ran across the entry and decided doing something was overdue. I decided to note simple pleasures. Little things that made me smile. The big stuff we all notice. But the little, unnoticed things, was my point of focus.
So I thought I’d share with you a couple simple pleasures that have happened since. Things that made me smile.
- This weekend, Hubby and I went to a seafood festival. The smells on the harbor were pleasant. The people on the party boats were laughing and singing. And strolling in the sunshine, Hubby reached for my hand. We’ve been married over three decades. That he still reaches for my hand when we walk… that’s definitely a simple pleasure.
- A man who has become a son to me talked to me about a grand adventure he’s wanted to take for a long time. He’s scheduled it for March. The joy in his face, well, it squeezed this mother’s heart.
- Amazon released four new Kindles, and I got to do some Christmas shopping a little early. I know one little girl who is going to be incredibly happy, and imagining her dropped jaw… simple (but huge to me) pleasure.
- I’ve been shopping for a pair of almost but not quite burgundy shoes for a year. I found them! And they were on sale!!! Definitely a smiling simple pleasure.
- I went into the backyard yesterday to put a soda can in the recycle bin and the birds were holding a concert. I got to hear it. Definitely a pleasure.
- I needed a note I’d scribbled to myself. Six months ago I would have panicked. I was still using sticky notes and only God knows where that note would be now, but I stopped that on the advice of a very bright friend and started scribbling notes in a journal. Flipped a few pages, and there it was. An enormous simple pleasure.
- This morning, I sat looking out the kitchen window. The sunshine was so pretty shining through the trees and the benches on the islands in the yard looked inviting. Hubby put little stone statues of angels on them. (I’ve collected angels for years.) And while just appreciating the pretty little scene, a fawn comes across the street and into our yard. It walked up close to the house, right in front of the window and posed for photos. It was the cutest thing. I wondered where its mom was—it really was too little to be alone. Seeing that fawn in our subdivision, in our yard, well, that was definitely a simply pleasure.
There’s more, but you’ve heard enough to get exactly what I mean. I’ll tell you something. Watching that little fawn, I had to wonder just what all I’ve missed being too busy.
And I guess that’s God’s way of reminding me He’s built a magnificent world outside my writer’s head and now and then I need to dip a toe in it and look around.
So that’s what I’m sharing with you this morning, and I’m asking you the question: Are you dipping your toe in the life going on outside your head?
In full disclosure, I have to add this. I’ve been in the best mood for the last two days. Little pleasures that don’t mean much on the grand scale of things or perhaps mean nothing to anyone else occurred and they meant a great deal to me. And your little pleasures will mean a great deal to you—if you notice them.