Simple pleasures: or, how to have a good (great) day?
August 24, 2014 9:28 AM   Subscribe

Because I often need inspiration and a gentle nudge or two, I like to hear what others 'simple pleasures' are in life, this list and this other list being two examples I'm keen on. What simple pleasures do you all enjoy? What makes for a great day, especially one you're spending by yourself?
posted by nightrecordings to Grab Bag (29 answers total) 80 users marked this as a favorite
Mine is kind of covered by the first list you posted, but I'm always amazed how nice it makes my day when I take a cup of tea and just stand on my deck for a half hour or so, listening to the sounds of the animals and watching their various antics, with no other distractions. (Obviously I live in a very quiet area for this to be possible.)
posted by obfuscation at 9:37 AM on August 24, 2014 [16 favorites]

  • A nice bath
  • Good bread and cheese
  • Sunshine
  • Painting my nails/curling my hair because I want to and not because it is expected
  • Reading poems
  • Calling a friend who is far away
  • Knitting
  • Cooking a simple meal like a salad
  • lately I've been enjoying making a spreadsheet of clothes I own and how I might pair them up. This is also nice because it speeds up my getting dressed in the mornings.
  • Did I mention cheese? I really like cheese.
  • My dream pleasure is having someone else iron my clothes so I don't have to.

posted by tulip-socks at 9:39 AM on August 24, 2014 [4 favorites]

A pot of good tea. A good book. Music on shuffle. A walk with the dog around the neighborhoods or in the woods. A hike with the camera, taking pictures of mushrooms and plants and insects and whatnot. A walk on the beach when no one else is around--like in the winter.
posted by RedEmma at 9:39 AM on August 24, 2014 [1 favorite]

Baking delicious treats to share
posted by fingersandtoes at 9:40 AM on August 24, 2014 [1 favorite]

Nthing obfuscation - we have a ton of birds and hummingbirds here and just watching them without the TV/etc on is great.

Also, sometimes in the morning after I shower for work I can take 5 minutes or so to just snuggle and love on my cats.
posted by getawaysticks at 9:41 AM on August 24, 2014

Personally I find cooking a huge, elaborate meal is one of my favorite things in the world (especially if it involves an ingredient or cooking technique I've never used before), but I know that's a source of stress for some people.

I'm also a huge fan of just sitting down in a quiet bar in the afternoon, drinking a beer, and watching the world go by. If there's no good bar for that near you a porch (or roof deck if you live in a city) will do just as well.
posted by Itaxpica at 9:44 AM on August 24, 2014 [2 favorites]

For me it starts with turning off the phone. That's a simple pleasure in and of itself. There is something about actively claiming one's solitude that enhances all these other activities.
posted by Lorin at 9:54 AM on August 24, 2014 [3 favorites]

To be honest, I can't really relate to most of the items on those two lists. Here are two things that always improve my mood a great deal:

1) Making significant progress on some long-term project that interests me (not a work-related project, or something my spouse wants me to do, but something that I "own" and I find to be satisfying).

2) Taking care of a long-neglected, nagging item on my "to do" list (even if the item is fairly simple & quick, though it often isn't).
posted by alex1965 at 10:00 AM on August 24, 2014 [4 favorites]

Having ample time in the morning. I don't like being rushed in the morning, I like to listen to music, or surf the web so I get earlier than I need to so I can move at a leisurely pace.
posted by Aranquis at 10:08 AM on August 24, 2014 [2 favorites]

Really good coffee. I've got a burr grinder and a Chemex drip maker.

I love knowing I will have delicious coffee first thing in the morning.
posted by kinetic at 10:29 AM on August 24, 2014 [3 favorites]

Agreed with getting up early so I don't have to rush. I've recently made it a habit of getting out of the house early on Fridays so I can stop at a cafe and get a fancy cappucino on the way to work and chill out for 20-30 minutes before going in. Makes what can be a day that drags a ton better.

I also like working out at lunch and then taking a shower before going back to the office. Moving is good, but something about feeling freshly showered in the afternoon is a big pick-me-up.

Some other thoughts:
Writing a snail-mail letter or postcard to a friend or family member
Buying flowers
Reading a "real" novel (i.e. not on my Kindle)
People watching
Learning how to make new/fancy cocktails that would be $10+ at a bar
posted by rainbowbrite at 10:31 AM on August 24, 2014 [1 favorite]

Making and eating a hearty breakfast topped off by drinking rooibos chai milk tea
Oldies music that reminds me of simpler times
Cleaning, whether it's vacuuming or making sure the kitchen is flawless
A long, refreshing shower
Spending an hour or two working on my unfinished plays
A gulp of wine late in the afternoon
posted by tackypink at 10:45 AM on August 24, 2014 [2 favorites]

Doing little things the night before to make the next day easier for "tomorrow's me." When I get there, I feel very warm and grateful toward "yesterday's me." Thanks, me!
posted by tomboko at 10:45 AM on August 24, 2014 [16 favorites]

Baking something really carefully and having it turn out splendid.
A first gulp of wine where you can feel it go down to your knees.
Putting on a record to mosh to in the living room
posted by runincircles at 10:58 AM on August 24, 2014 [2 favorites]

Great days include some kind of nature, whether it's wandering through the garden looking at growing things, finding an insect or bird to watch, watering the plants on the patio, or even just spending time with one or more cats. Good days include books and reading. Good days include creating something (a journal entry, painting, or a meal). Good days include gratitude (via prayer, mediation, or writing a simple list of things to be grateful for). Good days include contact with another person (a phone call, an email, even just a friendly hello to the mailman).
posted by GoLikeHellMachine at 11:02 AM on August 24, 2014 [2 favorites]

Like others, early mornings. Every morning I get up at what seems like the crack of dawn to some, and I work out, then take a longish walk or a run with my dogs, then I make a mushroom omelette with nice coffee and toast. I'm not rushed. None of these cost me much but they are so enjoyable and set up my day so well. Days where I sleep in it seems like I should be more rested (I get more sleep!) but I always end up feeling cranky.

The other big one for me is freshly shaved legs + warm, freshly laundered bedsheets. Nothing is better at night!
posted by jamesonandwater at 12:49 PM on August 24, 2014 [3 favorites]

I printed this out on the fridge and the resident ten year old said 'Mum, why do you need that on the fridge. Would have thought you knew that already' soon followed by 'surprised you didn't write and knitting underneath'. Kind of sums it up for me.

But what really helps me get through the day are the following:
- Do the housework the night before. Not only do you wake up knowing the bathroom is cleaned, you will probably rush through in the rush to get to bed/watch your favourite TV show/read your favourite book. Priorities, yo :)
- The secret to having it all is knowing you already do. Every day find something in your environment that is awesome, even if it isn't conventional or obvious.
- Listen to music - not because it is a good thing to do, or makes you smarter or better, but because it will make you smile

and especially this.
posted by Megami at 2:05 PM on August 24, 2014 [2 favorites]

My two mandatories for a half decent day are:

1. Eating enough fruit and vegetables. When I end up just eating convenience foods or something all day, I feel like ass by the end of the day. Just kind of bleh and logy. I've always felt this, but the older I get, the more pronounced it's become. So I know this sounds kind of schoolmarmish, but this makes a huge, real life difference to me.

2. Getting something done. I mean actually completing something, no matter how small. And when I say small, I mean it can be tiny. Something like changing the bedsheets or clearing out my purse or hard boiling some eggs or doing a quick reorganization of my spice cupboard when it gets sloppy. Recent projects that I consider big for these standards have included: Codifying my de facto charging station, which consisted almost entirely of tucking in a few wires and conferring Official Charging Space status to a specific endtable; and implementing an official digital music storage policy, which consisted of making some new directories and officially deciding on a conversion tool. Making progress on a larger project generally doesn't work the same way as actually having completed something to satisfaction. And for me, anyway, it needs to be something personal, not something work related. Work stuff has never really counted in my book. It has to be something personal.

To get all the way up to a really great day, I need something immersive and/or new. Maybe going to a favorite but inconveniently located restaurant, having an unplanned adventure, going to some art or music show, or just unexpectedly hitting it off with a stranger. The best way to court those, for me, is just to go wander around aimlessly for a while and be open to whatever, and to sometimes do things that are a little impulsive and/or stupid.
posted by ernielundquist at 2:05 PM on August 24, 2014 [1 favorite]

Go big or go home: 14,000 Things to be Happy About.
posted by IndigoJones at 3:09 PM on August 24, 2014

Looking forward to finishing season 2 of the Good Wife. Alicia is totally overreacting to the Kalinda thing though.
posted by beigeness at 5:49 PM on August 24, 2014 [1 favorite]

This is one of my favorite rubrics for happiness: Achievement, Closeness, Enjoyment. Try to have some of each every day. Here's a link describing what this means.
posted by 3491again at 6:13 PM on August 24, 2014 [1 favorite]

A totally agenda-free day. Picking whatever appeals to me and doing that for a while is such a relaxing way to spend time. Read part of a book, start a Goodwill pile, eat a popsicle, see if my favorite musician has any new music coming out soon, clean the lint trap (I mean like REALLY clean the lint trap) on the dryer, and so on.

To do lists are spectacular, but a day without can be quite satisfying.
posted by Twicketface at 6:15 PM on August 24, 2014 [2 favorites]

I like to look at lakes / bodies of water as I'm crossing them.
posted by batter_my_heart at 6:31 PM on August 24, 2014 [2 favorites]

I don't usually have a whole day to devote to greatness but I try to make a conscious effort to include at least a few quick, simple things that I do just because it makes it me happy. Here is a list of this kind of thing.
posted by metahawk at 6:44 PM on August 24, 2014

A couple of folks have mentioned cats, and I'll nth it. When you've really bonded with a cat, and she is sleeping on your lap while you pet her belly, and she stretches and wraps her little paws around your wrist like she's hugging it... that is one of things that makes me wonder if maybe, just maybe, there is a loving god in this universe.
posted by Ursula Hitler at 8:57 PM on August 24, 2014 [2 favorites]

A really great smelling soap/shower gel.
Fresh sheets on the bed.
Comfort food from when I was a kid.
Staying in pyjamas all day.
Having my handbag perfectly organised.
Having the luxury of time to focus on one task at a time, for however long that task needs.
Really fresh air - like on a beach, or in the mountains, or in Tasmania.
Really fresh bread.
Exercise, even if I don't feel like it at the start - always energises me.
Drinking enough water.
Time with loved ones.
posted by shazzam! at 12:10 AM on August 25, 2014 [3 favorites]

waking up on your own, no alarm. Obviously, this has to be on a day they you don't have anything that must be done early, but to be able to just sleep until you are done sleeping is such a luxury.
posted by 5_13_23_42_69_666 at 1:41 AM on August 25, 2014 [6 favorites]

I moved to the beach specifically so I could walk along the shore every single day. There's nothing more peaceful and rejuvenating for me than being by water - lake, ocean, pool, fountain.

When I need to recharge, I go and sit at the beach.
posted by 26.2 at 2:13 PM on August 25, 2014 [1 favorite]

Crocheting. It's a pretty inexpensive hobby (if you don't keep collecting yarn! ha) and I find it relaxing. Lots of repetitive movements and after doing that for several hours, I have a new scarf!
posted by cp311 at 2:24 PM on August 25, 2014

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