It was my 74th birthday this week and I had a moment to consider what makes me happy.
Of course I would be glad to have someone give me a sack with a couple of million bucks, but that event didn’t happen on my birthday. So, I’ll have to forego the diamond tiara again this year. However one of my oldest friends sent me a plastic one with a pink heart gem which I wore at home. The only place I could actually wear it would be Walmart (or Wallyworld as we call it here in the South) because that’s a freak show anyway. Maybe I’d make it into one of the Wallyworld picture posts we get every once in awhile. But then I would never live it down. 😉
It occurred to me that the real pleasures in life are born of our own attitude of appreciation of what we have, and the eye to see beauty and mark the event. When a friend calls and tells a funny story, or shares something personal, knowing they trust you with their hearts, I say to myself, this is precious. And I smile.
Going into my garden to see little seedlings poking up out of the earth once again, knowing the gift of a seed is not taken for granted, and welcomed with a tiny bit of joy. Seeing a Monarch butterfly or many feeding on my Zinnias out there, with their colors brightening the green reminds me that the world continues. Seeing the Passion Flower vine flowering, seeing a fat bumble bee sleeping curled around the stamen taking a little snooze, so sweet. My garden is just plain a pleasure and worth the create I put into it to keep it growing and thriving.
When I see the victory over some kind of evil in the world, I rejoice. When I see someone doing something heroic or so kind it makes me tear up.
I listen to Swiss yodeling music in the morning with my coffee. Something about it rises in me and I am transported to the ski slopes of my youth or when I worked in Squaw Valley as a waitress in the winter one year, with a live yodel band in the restaurant at night, dancing thru the crowd with a tray balanced on my hand, singing and yodeling along with the band. Joy.
Memories are wonderful things. I can place myself back in those moments and savor again the colors, the feelings, the spark of life it returns to me.
Pleasures are what take us thru the hard times. What gives the lifting of the heart to make life worth living. The feeling of the hand of a small child nestled in mine and the look of bright clarity in their eyes is wondrous. The feeling of the weight of a beloved cat curled around my body waking up in the night to feel the soft fur. A particularly well written and insightful sentence in the works of a favorite author makes me stand back and appreciate the mind behind that work, the creativity and perception so keen.
The smile of my dear husband as he and I share some silly humorous parlay, or a really good pun shared again over the years. Humor is one of my favorite pleasures. But having his heart and care there every day fills my heart. I am so grateful.
I am a living historian in NE Georgia. We, my fellow historians, gather once a month to wear our period correct attire, and do historically correct and interesting activities, with banter, and some good stories thrown in around the fire of the 225 year old block building, built when George Washington was president. Just being there gives me so much pleasure. It’s an original building though moved 2 times to its present location overlooking a beautiful lake and trees. It’s made of hand hewn heart of hardwood logs, chinked with clay, with a fireplace and a second floor, filled with old things all beautiful in my eyes. I enjoy the company, the knowledge, being transported back those 225 year into different times. No electricity, no income tax, no overcrowded living, just the skill of one’s own hands and the shared knowledge of friends to keep one alive. So freeing.
I work constantly on building skills of many kinds. Fiber arts are one of my favorite, learning how to use the drop spindle to make yarn, or a spinning wheel likewise. Just the doing of it makes me happy. When my yarn comes out even and well spun it’s a triumph. When I then can knit it into something useful like a shawl for cold weather, I feel happy.
I crushed my ankle 7 years ago and recently mobility has been tough, very painful and tiring. So, I finally got myself to the right doctor and got some help, which returned me to a lot more mobility and a lot less pain. Just walking around my garden or thru a store without that knife poking me has made life so much more live-able. I can get up off a chair and not need my cane. I can go to sleep at night without having to take something. I’m grateful and so enjoying my returned mobility. You sometimes don’t notice something so basic until it is gone. But having it returned is amazing.
It takes a willingness to find fun and happiness. If I just waited around for the world to provide me with amusement with me and no skin in the game, I doubt life would be much fun or interesting. But I had a dear friend in my 20s who had survived the A-bomb in Nagasaki. She was a child when it happened and she spent 10 years in a hospital getting treatments to turn her horribly disfigured skin into the loveliness she ended up with, enough to get married and have a good life. She said “Diann Chan (a term of endearment) always appreciate.” She meant everything – even the little things, and probably mostly the little things. But the big things too – a safe place to live, not burdened by war and violence, enough to eat, a good house, transportation, communication, good friends, nice things and safety. We are so used to it, but from her eyes, raised in wartime Japan by a beautiful courtesan mother and a Yakusa father (Japanese mafia), this was a considerable comparison.
There’s an artist inside you. Wake it up and prepare to see beauty and interest all around you. The Navajos have a way of saying goodbye – they say “Walk in beauty”.
It’s a practice that is like a bee flying from one flower to the next, from one flower to the next, even though the flight back to the hive might be 5 miles – those flowers and the greeting at the hive to unload is what makes life worthwhile.
Enjoy your flowers my friend, and remember the smell, the feel, and the colors as you fly back to the hive every day.
Happy Thanksgiving my friends.
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