The simple joys

by Lorin Michel Saturday, May 11, 2013 10:42 PM

Every once in a while I realize that I have a pretty good life. I have a family that is filled with good, decent and loving people. I have friends who make me happy that we are able to spend time together. I have a son who has turned from a teenager with little direction to a young adult with passion to a man who is ambitious, loving, thoughtful and funny. I have a husband who makes me laugh and who loves me even when I'm not particularly lovable. I have a dog, a home, some dirt in the desert, and a career that I actually like. I am blessed, and I know it.

Today as I was outside, enjoying a warm May Saturday, a light breeze trying desperately to cool the 85º air and failing miserably, it suddenly hit me. My life is good and the joy I get from the simplest things in that life are enough to make me laugh out loud. A wash of contentment came over me. It happens sometimes and at the strangest times, and almost always when I’m in the middle of doing next to nothing. Perhaps it’s because those are the times when I actually have time to contemplate.

Simple joys are those that you don’t have to work at and sometimes don’t even plan. Like washing the car today. I get tremendous joy from lathering up the paint, standing on the step ladder to reach the windshield and the roof, rinsing it, drying it and then admiring how good it looks. Today, it also got vacuumed, thanks to Kevin, so it’s pretty inside and out. I felt accomplished.

I get some of my greatest joy when I’m eating, especially when enjoying a meal with friends or family. Relaxing, talking, laughing, having wine with music on in the background. This is my idea of the perfect way to spend time.

Did I mention the simple joy of wine?

I love experimenting with a new recipe. Taking the time to put something together, smelling garlic or ginger or whatever as it fills first the kitchen and then the house, knowing that if it tastes as good as it smells, we’re going to have a fine meal. That fills me with joy.

When I can’t see someone but can talk to them, spending even just a few minutes or as much as several hours, enjoying each other’s stories, sharing each other’s lives, it makes me happy.

I love texting with my sister on a near daily basis, just to say ‘hi,’ ‘thinking about you,’ ‘how are things there?’ It makes me feel closer to her somehow, like we’re together more than we actually are. Technology has done that for us, and that makes me happy, too.

Music is one of my greatest joys. Depending on my mood, the day of the week or the time of day, I almost always have music playing. Jazz, the standards, coffeehouse rock, classic rock, new age. Music is, to me, as necessary as sunshine.

Freshly ground and brewed coffee.

Cantaloupe when it comes back into season. Ditto peaches and nectarines.

A perfectly ripe avocado.

The simple joy of going for a ride on the motorcycle, of walking the dog, or watching a really good rerun on television, of getting lost in a phenomenal book, especially if I wasn’t expecting it to be as good as it turns out to be. These kinds of things are the meaning of life.

The exquisite joy of having ideas. I have them all the time, especially ideas for things to write. I scribble notes on the paper next to the bed, as I did this morning, getting them out of my head and out onto a place where they can be seen, analyzed, interpreted and hopefully developed. I believe that the constant flow of ideas is a source for the constant maybe of possibilities.

And all of the possibilities that life continually presents may simply be the greatest joy of all. 

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