It’s the simple things in life that are the most extraordinary. Whether it’s climbing into a bed with freshly washed sheets, watching birds chase each other or blowing bubbles with little kids, the only way to fully appreciate them is slowing down and not being absorbed by our mobile devices. How are we to notice anything when our focus is constantly pulled in different directions?
Little pleasures are all around us, but in order to enjoy them, we have to be open to noticing them. All too often, we get so busy and wrapped up in the normalcy of our daily lives that it can be easy to miss the simple joys. They are usually unplanned, sometimes unexpected, and also some of the sweetest parts of life, but often go unnoticed.
I recently came across a little book originally published in 1887 ‘The Pleasures Of Life’ by Sir John Lubbock. It was such a joy to discover how little human nature has changed since then and especially how midlife has been always considered such a turning point.
Life is a great gift, and as we reach years of discretion, we most of us naturally ask ourselves what should be the main object of our existence – Sir Lubbock wrote-. Even those who do not accept ‘the greatest good of the greatest number’ as an absolute rule, will yet admit that we should all endeavour to contribute as far as we may to the happiness of our fellow-creatures. There are many, however, who seem to doubt whether it is right that we should try to be happy ourselves. Our own happiness ought not, of course, to be our main object, nor indeed will it ever be secured if selfishly sought. We may have many pleasures in life, but must not let them have rule over us, or they will soon hand us over to sorrow. To be bright and cheerful often requires an effort; there is a certain art in keeping ourselves happy; and in this respect, as in others, we require to watch over and manage ourselves, almost as if we were somebody else.
This week, let’s think of how much we have to be thankful for. Only a few of us appreciate all our daily blessings; we look on them as trifles, and yet “trifles make perfection, and perfection is no trifle,” as Michelangelo, the great artist said. We forget them because they are always with us; and yet for each of us, as the English essayist Walter Horatio Pater well observed, “these simple gifts, and others equally trivial, bread and wine, fruit and milk, might regain that poetic and, as it were, moral significance which surely belongs to all the means of our daily life, could we but break through the veil of our familiarity with things by no means vulgar in themselves.”
Being more present and seeing the world through our own eyes is the key to enjoy our lives. What are some of the simple pleasures in life that you enjoy most? I love searching for vintage books. The idea that they reached me through several coincidences makes me think of how deeply we are all connected through the years and generations.