The Simple Joys of Life
It’s been a long, complicated and hard year for most people. As life starts to come back to whatever we consider normal, I have found it difficult to figure out what I went to do as I return to pre-pandemic life. Part of the problem I think for me is that I’m over thinking the whole thing. It seems in many ways that I feel like I have to do something big to make up for lost time, and then once I consider the actual realities of where we still are in terms of the pandemic, I end up not doing anything.
Oddly, starting to go to the gym again has given me some insight into this issue for me. I’d almost forgotten how much I like the simple structure of gym time. While I did a good job over the last year of working out with dumbells at home. I was able, due to working from home, to stay really consistent with a lifting schedule and that was great. But it doesn’t compare to having the variety of equipment available as well as being able to combine cardio easily with my lifting schedule. But after a few days in the gym I missed my daily walks and so today, on a particularly sunny day, took a nice long walk after my gym workout.
A big reminder for me in this is how much we need to focus on the simple things in life that make us happy. For me this week, I had a big reminder besides the lovely walk today. My littlest niece got her birthday presents from me and my brother sent me a lovely picture of her holding them all at once. The look on her face was that, I don’t know which one I want to deal with first look. Later that day she sent me an Instagram video with a filter that made her a pickle, and it just repeated with her saying, “look, I’m a pickle.” Made my whole day that she wanted to send me that.
Today I took a nice slow walk by the ocean and really was present during the walk, reminding myself how much I love the fact that I live close enough to do that anytime I feel the need. It’s important to focus on how these little things can bring incredible joy into our lives. Especially given that the little things are so much more accessible and overall likely provide the bulk of our happiness.
Whenever I think about the idea of simple pleasures in my life I think about a particular day I had right in the middle of much bigger adventure. I wrote about this in my book about the Appalachian Trail, and it happened in Virginia. On a really perfect summer hiking day, you know the type, 75 degrees with a nice breeze and big puffy while clouds in the skies. I walked into a county park, it was marked on the hiking maps because there was piped drinkable water and actual bathrooms. So I stopped in the park to eat lunch. On the trail it was always a good day when you had someplace you could stop, sit at a picnic table, not have to treat water and have an actual bathroom to use, maybe even find a vending machine with a coke.
But the most magnificent part of the day was after lunch when I decided to just take a break. So I threw my pack up on the table and laid down in the sun and just watched clouds. I hadn’t done that since I was a kid. And I laid there for about two hours, it was funny, people I knew on the trail would come through the park, say hi, hang out and split but I just laid there. It felt great, it was a moment in my life when I felt absolutely no obligation, and no pressure. It truly felt like I was a kid again. The fact was, I could get up and hike to where I was planning on camping that night, or I could lay there all day and hang my hammock in the park for the night. Those simple, free and unobligated moments in life are few and far between as an adult.
When you find yourself in a moment of simple pleasure, it’s important to slow down, become present and really immerse yourself in how wonderful and special those times are and have a happy day my friends. ~ Rev Kane