"People who see themselves primarily as victims are doomed." -- Louise Erdrich, "The Sentence"

Saturday, March 25, 2023

Simple Pleasures

     It seems that most of the retirement advice we get these days is either about money -- when to start taking Social Security, how to invest your 401K -- or else about how to find meaning in life -- you have to volunteer somewhere or maybe find a job.

     Well, that might be true in the early days of retirement, especially if you retire young, in your 50s or early 60s. But the older we get, the more it seems like the simple pleasures become more important.

     Here are a few of my simple pleasures. Maybe you have some others you can suggest.

     Dinner.  I really enjoy sitting down for a hot meal at the end of the day. I'm lucky that I have a companion (my wife) to have dinner with. We go through a little ritual of how we get dinner ready (which includes lighting a candle), and then we talk about the day, gossip about friends, maybe make plans for an outing. Nothing important. But, somehow, it's important.

     Netflix.  Okay, I admit it. I look forward to my TV time after dinner -- sometimes with B, when we find a show we both like, sometimes by myself, if it's something too crude or too violent for her to want to watch.

     Reading.  I read about one book a week. Some are better than others. But I like to start the morning by reading for half an hour or so, with a cup of coffee by my side, just to ease into the day. And I don't know how I would ever fall asleep at night without reading myself into somnolence.

     Gardening.  To be honest, I am not much of a gardener. I haven't done anything in the yard in months. Maybe that's why I'm looking forward to going outside and getting my hands dirty -- breathing the fresh air, smelling the earth, making our little corner of the world look a tiny bit better.

     Breakfast. They say in retirement you need some meaning in life, a reason to get up in the morning. For me, it's breakfast. I love that first cup of coffee. I eat some fruit. Cantaloupe is my favorite. I usually have cereal with 2% milk; every once in a while I cook myself an egg (or three).

     Crossword puzzles.  I started doing them during Covid. Now I can't stop.

     Learning.  I like tackling something a little bit challenging, but not too hard. Right now I'm learning how to do Powerpoint, because I've signed up to make a presentation in the fall for my senior learning group.

     Sports.  I'm about as good at sports as I am at gardening -- meaning, not very good. I used to play Ping Pong. Lately, I've been on the pickleball court. When the weather warms up I'll start playing some golf. Occasionally, I go for a walk. I really do not like to exercise. I find it boring. But if I can get exercise while hitting a ball . . . why, that's what I call interesting!

     So maybe you find your small pleasure in doing your taxes? Or following March Madness? If there's one thing I've learned in my 70 years . . . it takes all kinds.


Ed said...

I find pleasure working in my "shop" making something out of wood, especially on nice days when I can keep the door open.

gigi-hawaii said...

I find pleasure entertaining my guests with good food and conversation, blogging 3 times per week, admiring art, finding new restaurants, playing my violin. It's the simple things that make life worthwhile.

Terra said...

Yes, pleasure in the small things. Seeing my adult sons each week is at the top of my list and attending church. After church I am in a small group of 25 people for further fellowship, another pleasure. Walks with my pup. Reading and TV. Always having a flower bouquet in the kitchen. Oh the list is long isn't it?

Friko said...

Yes, eating, drinking (wine or water), reading (often three or more books a week), lots of outdoor activity like gardening or walking, a bit of TV, obsessing about current (bloody) affairs, listening to music, chatting with friends occasionally. Mainly, on a good day, feeling happy that it is a good day. Feeling content with life and grateful for small pleasures.

Not so bad is it, when you have the wherewithal and leisure to suit yourself.

Anonymous said...

Yes! The little things in life... I enjoy my ritual of eating breakfast while watching Nine Mile Creek roll by. I tend to read may favorite blogs at this time too. And the simple joy of being able to do whatever you want... or not! I am hooked on NY Times games, including Wordle, Spelling Bee and Letter Boxed. Very relaxing and satisfying; only competing with myself!

Right now I am reading about Ancient Roman history and art, in preparation for an upcoming trip. What a joy to have the time to dig in and explore these topics of interest.


Red said...

You forgot blogging! We need something to keep us active and our head in the game.

Tom said...

Yes blogging! I wish I could see my adult kids each week, but in the meantime I find pleasure in Zooming with them.

Miss Merry said...

My simple pleasures in retirement.
1. Looking at my car covered in snow and deciding I don't need to go anywhere until it melts.
2. Disposing of my "career" wardrobe and wearing what I want, when I want.
3. Cooking. I like to cook when I have time to cook. And now I have time to cook!
4. Spending time with my grandchildren.
5. Reading. I have a pile of books and can stay up late to read at night.

Anvilcloud said...

i confess hat Sue and I eat in our comfy chairs whilst watching tv.

DJan said...

A fabulous list, Tom. I agree with them all except for that sports thing. And I would have added friendship. :-)

RetirementCoffeeShop said...

Simple pleasures are awesome when we really pay attention to them and savor them. I enjoy the same things you mention. Other simple things I enjoy are seeing a bright red Cardinal feeding in the back yard or bathing in the bird bath, watching the gentle bubbling of a three tiered fountain in the back yard, sitting and listening to the birds and the sound of a waterfall flowing into our swimming pool. Simple things throughout the day can bring great joy.

Rian said...

Tom, I think my favorite simple pleasure is owning my own time... knowing I can 'do or not do' as I see fit. I love that. And it isn't always the case as we do have responsibilities - but in general, it's great.

Otherwise, spending time with DH, family, or friends, having coffee at a coffee shop, sharing my early morning coffee and toasted Artisan bread with DH, taking a nap in the afternoon if needed, and climbing into bed at 10 with a good book.

I did have to read that part under 'Netflix' to DH (and laugh) as he and I also either find a movie we both like in the evening... or we separate to different areas if what he watches is too crude or violent.

River said...

One of my simple pleasures is my afternoon nap. Usually from 2pm to 4pm, which allows me to stay awake longer after dinner and watch TV without falling asleep in the recliner. And I like my hot porridge breakfast every morning.