” . . . To learn the habit of finding pleasure in the essentials of life and feeling gratitude for them. We’d like to think that, when they strike out on their own someday, they’ll have a clear sense of what they really need.” —Ben Sasse, author of The Vanishing American Adult: Our Coming-of-Age Crisis–and How to Rebuild a Culture of Self-Reliance
Perhaps there is a nugget of gold in living a busy life, and that is recognizing what it feels like to be so overwhelmed a breath cannot be found, and upon shifting the busy out and finding a more balanced approach, becoming more appreciative of the essentials, the everyday moments that were too often overlooked and camouflaged by the mistaken assumption that something yet unachieved or attained was far grander.
Each early spring my life hits a gear I must admit I am not comfortable with. The speed and expectations are heightened and the workload intensifies. The silver-lining is knowing it is only temporary and what lies on the other side is a slower pace. While I contemplate how to tweak and adapt to eliminate the busy, I have come, each year, to further appreciate the essentials of living comfortably, albeit simply, but certainly well in such a way that I have deep gratitude for.
One of the gifts I was given as a child was an appreciation for the simple, the everyday, life essentials. I unconsciously became extremely fond of fresh air, cold, crisp water from the well, a sturdy roof over my head, a deep night’s sleep without interruption and homemade food on the table each night served with love and creativity. None of these daily experiences perk excitement or make headlines, but perhaps similar to the Slow TV movement, they were simple, beautiful and the foundation that when appreciated were found to have more beauty than any extravagance.
Each weekend, as I have shared before, my Sunday ritual is to dive into the newspapers. Without fail, each time there is at least one article that is worth sharing on my Twitter feed with followers. This past weekend it was Ben Sasse’s article “Perpetual Adolescence” which is an excerpt from his upcoming book mentioned above in the quote. Within the article he shares five broad themes that he and his wife try to instill in their children to override what he sees as a common unhealthy pattern with millennials. While all are salient points regardless of the child’s age or generation, his suggestion to teach children how to discern the difference between true want and need will serve them far better in a variety of life experiences as they move through life. And I couldn’t help but agree that it is in observing, valuing and cultivating a life composed of appreciation and care of the basics that we need everyday that we give ourselves a foundation to find peace no matter what life circumstances may toss our way.
“A nice warm shower, a cup of tea, and a caring ear may be all you need to warm your heart.” ― Charles F. Glassman
Lately I have been waking up with the birds chirping, no alarm clock necessary and being thankful for nature’s rhythm and comfort. As well, when it comes to nourishment, stepping into the kitchen and composing meals from the spring offerings and especially, spending time outdoors gazing at the blue sky and basking in the fresh air and spring temperatures. Such simple necessities, and a heightened life of beauty no matter what life circumstances, serve as a reminder of the importance of finding pleasure in the essentials.
Today, contemplate what the essentials for living your life may be. Are some essentials actually just wants or perhaps there are a few things you have placed on the “want” side that actually are fundamental for living well and being at peace. Be honest with yourself. Refuse to feel guilty for, in my case, creating a nightly routine in which my dogs sleep in their own room in their own very cozy beds so that I can sleep without interruption in my own. Whatever it may be, if you’re honest with yourself, you’ll know. Give yourself some time and then begin savoring the essentials so that when those extraordinary “wants” dance into your life, the high will be magnificent and beyond memorable, but even when it passes, you won’t miss it, so much as be thankful for the gift that it was as you step back into a life you love living.
~SIMILAR POSTS FROM THE ARCHIVES YOU MIGHT ENJOY:
~Why Not . . . Celebrate the Ordinary?
~Why Not . . . Let Go of the Busy Mentality?
~Why Not . . . Transition Your Busy to Balanced?
~Why Not . . . Design a Great Week?
~View more Lifestyle posts in the Archives here
11 thoughts on “Why Not . . . Find Pleasure in the Essentials of Life?”
I enjoyed reading your post this morning, and agree with all you said. So many of us are struggling to find time to live authentically and savor ordinary moments, as you note in your post. Ironically, I blame the problem on the time we spend on social media — Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc — and all the time we spend online every day and night.
How can we savor ordinary blessings — in real time — when we’re glued to our Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram feeds all day? We’re so busy looking at screens — at what other people are doing and wearing — that we don’t fully notice and appreciate our own lives. We’ve traded a lot of precious things for the convenience and connectivity of the internet.
Thank you for sharing. Living consciously, understanding why we look to social media is certainly important to living a more fulfilling life. Have a beautiful Wednesday and thank you for stopping by. 🙂
Love the post. Some of my essentials are simply laying on the beach or in the yard and doing nothing. Just being there, not even in deep thought, just simply being. I also love the idea of the Slow TV. One of the things I love to do is watch a live broadcast from Explore.org to help clear some head-space.
I look forward to checking it out. Thank you for sharing. 🙂
Ah, waking with the bird’s song before the alarm, yes!
Beautiful, essential post ,Shannon. It is the appreciation and gratitude of “The Simply Luxurious..” that leads us to “The Simply Luxurious Life”…” a heightened life of beauty no matter what life circumstances, serve as a reminder of the importance of finding pleasure in the essentials…”
Thank you for helping us choose”…a heightened life of beauty…”.
Rona, And thank you for your kind words. 🙂
Yes all we have to do is look about our homes to see what beauty there is in the ordinary. If something is not quite right, tweak it till you are content. No mor no less. It’s all up to us -Laurel Bledsoe
Shannon…I’ve followed your blog from the beginning, and I’m truly thankful for the joy and value its added to my life. Your book recommendations have added many happy hours snuggled in front of our fireplace, and I love your elegant, simple style. I agree that life is what we make of it, and the simple pleasures are what make life beautiful. So, on this Mother’s Day…thank you! I’m off to the market to purchase the ingredients for your quiche you posted earlier this week.
Jeannine, Thank you for your very kind and loving very words. 🙂 I do hope you enjoy the quiche. Have a beautiful week.
The quiche was fabulous, Shannon! Thank you. I just downloaded your spring capsule menu. It looks delicious. Like you, I’m a teacher, (reading specialists at the elementary level) and I LOVE my career, but this last month is a tough one! Hang in there, and here’s to a lovely upcoming summer.
So happy to hear the quiche was to your liking! Yes, teaching is indeed rewarding, but knowing summer is almost here is a sweet sight. 🙂