Carmen's blog but I wanted to post it here too in the interest of resurrecting this old blog! This version is updated and slightly edited.
Life is pretty complicated sometimes. Sometimes in this techno-fast-paced-gotta-set-higher-and-higher-goals-and-do-and-be-everything age I think we need to slow down and appreciate little things. Where, exactly, are we going so fast? And what are we missing on the way there? And when we get there will we be glad we're there? “Enjoying the journey,” is a phrase that I think is highly overused. After all, the destination IS important and goals are very useful things, but we do need to find balance; recharge periodically; assess priorities and enjoy life in general. Yes, the goal is important, but it's not ALL about the goal. Having said that, however, we do need to stop every now and then and realize that life is for living, not for rushing through until we collapse exhausted, just to get up the next day or week or month or year and start it all again. I've been thinking about simple pleasures...things we can do to make the load seem lighter for a moment while we continue on this journey called life. So here are thirty one simple pleasures, one for each day of the month. Little things...things that can be done with little or no expense. These ideas are easy and inexpensive. If we don't take time to smell the roses, pretty soon we'll forget what the roses smell like!
This list is in no way complete, nor is it in any order. Some of these ideas may appeal to you, others not so much. The point is, enjoy life! It's made for living!
1. Take a walk. Don't take your music with you. Just walk. Barefoot if possible, for half an hour. Breathe the fresh air and enjoy your surroundings.
2. Take a hot bath. With bubbles. And a book. And the door locked!
3. Sleep in. Take one day and just sleep until you wake up. No alarm clock, no nothing. If you have small children who are up early, this may be more difficult, but at least stay in bed until you feel like getting up. Maybe use the time to cuddle up under the covers with the littles and read a story. Or maybe cuddle up under the covers with someone not so little.... ;-)
4. Make a cup of hot chamomile and peppermint tea. Use two teabags, one of each, and leave the teabags in the cup. Or hot chocolate. Here's an awesome recipe!
5. If your coffee maker doesn't have a timer, get an inexpensive one used for lighting when you go out of town and set your coffee pot to start brewing fifteen minutes before you are going to wake up. Nothing like the luxury of getting up to freshly made coffee just waiting for you!
6. Stay up late into the night with a good book. (Don't do this right before you have to be up early for something, though!
7. Go to a local bakery and purchase 2 super duper exquisite indulgent cupcakes. One for you and one for a friend. Or make some. Chocolate lover's recipe here.
8. Color. Like when you were a kid. Get some crayons or colored pencils and a cheap coloring book and color. Don't worry about staying in the lines!
9. Spend 30 minutes in silence. Turn off your phone. Turn off your TV. Turn off your ipod. Turn it all off and enjoy 30 minutes of absolute total silence.
10. Have some old fashioned chicken noodle soup. Not just any old canned soup, either. Get a really good quality one. Or make some.
11. Put a couple of tablespoons of yummy flavored syrup in your coffee or hot chocolate. Hazelnut is amazing in chocolate, by the way! Make a cup for your spouse or friend or son or daughter or work colleague too. (Make your own syrup:http://catfeetstudio.blogspot.com/2010/04/some-calorie-laden-recipes.html
12. Call an old friend or relative you love but haven't talked to in a while and catch up.
13. Laugh. A lot. I read this somewhere (if anyone knows where it came from please let me know and I'll credit the source!), “Children laugh over 300 times a day whereas adults laugh only 15 times. This is because children laugh unconditionally while adults do so only if there is a cause.” Laugh as loudly and as often as you can. For no reason. Who cares if they think you are crazy!
14. Write a letter. A real one. On real paper. With a real pen! Add some doodles and little drawings and personalize it. Tuck in a tea bag or a couple of photos (yes, real ones! Printed on real paper!). Put it in a real envelope with a real stamp and put in in a real mailbox to send to a real person. I'm a huge user of email and I think technology is great, but there's just something about an old fashioned letter in the mailbox...and you never know...you just might get one in return!
15. Take your sheets and blankets off the bed and launder them in nice smelling soap and softener. Before you put them back on put something soft like an old comforter on the mattress under the fitted sheet. Then put the sheets back on and count the hours until you can snuggle down in your sweet smelling homemade feather bed.
16. Use a towel fresh, warm and fluffy, straight from the dryer when you get out of the shower.
17. Hold hands with someone. A child, a spouse, a friend, a grandparent. Human contact and touch go a long way in the well-being department!
18. Do a small random act of kindness for a stranger. Look around you as you are out and about. There are opportunities for this all around us all the time. Anonymously pay for the coffee for the person behind you. Help a harassed mother with a stroller to put her groceries in the car. Let someone go in front of you in line at the checkout.
19. Have fresh berries for breakfast.
20. Turn off the news in the car and listen to music you love. Don't listen to the news for a full day. The world will still function even if you aren't up to the minute. The news doesn't usually change from day to day anyway. If there is a major catastrophe someone will tell you.
21. Go outside at night and look at the stars.
22. Lie on your back outside in the afternoon and watch the clouds change shape.
23. Do something you've been putting off and check it off your list. Complete that pesky task and get it out of your hair!
24. Clear all the extra junk, stuff, trash, and knick knacks off your desk. File papers. Throw away spent pens and stubby pencils. Keep only what you need to use regularly on your desk. Put everything else within reach, but neatly away, out of sight. A clear workspace contributes to a clear and productive mind. (More on this in a later post!)
25. Make popcorn. Extra butter. You won't be able to eat it alone, because the smell of popcorn will attract people from miles around, so make a lot!
26. Leave the house ten minutes early in the morning so you won't be so rushed and stressed on the way to where ever you have to go.
27. Smile at a stranger. You never know what kind of day that person is having and a smile will brighten even the darkest moment. For you and for them!
28. Grow something. Mint or basil if you like herbs. Flowers in a pot. Plant a strawberry plant. Get a cactus or succulent if you have brown thumb (like me!) Anything. Inside or out. But plant something.
29. Get a pedicure. Pick a beautiful polish, even in cold weather when you wear closed toed shoes. When you take off your shoes at the end of the day your feet will look and feel gorgeous. Even if no one else sees them, you do!
30. Put your pj's on early in the evening, lounge around and be comfy.
31. Pick up a cheap bottle of bubbles and blow bubbles in a public place. Try to do it where no one can see you but let the bubbles float out where people are. Something about bubbles makes everyone happy.
32. And a bonus! Work out. Hard. Really really hard. (Obviously this will take longer than the ten minutes I mentioned at the beginning of this post!) Then take a long hot shower and let the water pound the muscles you've just used. Finish with a quick burst of cool water and you'll get out of the shower refreshed and raring to go!