In life we tend to remember the big events, the unique experiences which have given us a huge dose of pleasure, satisfaction and fulfilment: a special holiday, perhaps, or a wedding, a concert, a long trek we've done, an object we've saved for and finally been able to buy, the completion of a painting, poem or piece of music, taking a motor bike to bits then putting it back together again. Whatever.
But it strikes me that these are relatively rare happenings — intensely felt, to be sure, but ultimately fleeting and far-flung pleasures. I think we'd be much more content if we were aware of the smaller, commoner joys in life, those daily routines and familiarities which are so regular we tend almost to ignore them, brushing them aside and forgetting it's they that are life's real and lasting delights. If we focused on them, were mindful of them, I'm sure our seemingly ordinary lives would be all the richer. Virginia Woolf put her finger on it when she described in one of her essays the gentle thrills of quite mundane activities, such as posting a letter.
So, off the top of my head, here's a list of my own ten simple, unassuming indulgences. Your own lists would be most welcome (don't think too much about it — be spontaneous!).
1. The first cup of coffee of the day (with freshly ground coffee beans).
2. The morning bath or shower (cleansing, invigorating, renewing).
3. Reading the Saturday Guardian (the only newspaper I generally read).
4. A slightly runny boiled egg for breakfast with a slice of hot buttered toast and Marmite.
5. Walking round the village.
6. Travelling by bus or train to the nearest town (I like driving less and less, having driven 40,000 miles a year for nearly 30 years).
7. The sound of purring cats and wind chimes.
8. The scent of lavender and incense sticks.
9. Consciously deciding to enjoy the day whatever the weather; going out in all weathers, suitably dressed.
10. Reading in bed. Experiencing the peace, silence and newness of dawn.
(Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.)