If we were having coffee I’d ask how you define “simple pleasures” in your life today.
Since my mom died almost two years ago, I started feeding the birds. It was something she always did. I also started doing it as a way to entertain the new cat that adopted me while Mom was in declining health.
We have ceiling to floor windows in the den that look out at a small side yard. There are large arbor vitae trees that provide a home to many birds. I placed several feeders, as well as a bird bath in this area.
I then put a cat tree near those windows and enjoyed many happy hours watching Miss Kitty stalk and “attack” our feathered friends from inside the glass. Even the squirrels would climb up onto the feeders and taunt our poor feline! I’m not sure who was more entertained, the cat or myself.
I lost my mom first and then my kitty. I gave the pet items to my son who has two cats of his own, but the bird feeders remained; a constant reminder of what I’d lost.
I considered getting rid of them because watching those little feathered creatures was painful at first. But, I slowly realized that they came to depend on me. Kind’ve like my Mom and Kitty did.
Sure, my furry friends managed without my help before and could again. But, winter was coming, a season when freezing temps and snow make food and water scarce here in the northeast.
The menagerie of wildlife isn’t limited to just birds, but also includes rabbits, squirrels, chipmunks, opossums, raccoons, and the occasional skunk. Knowing that my efforts improve their quality of life makes me feel really good inside.
There was no way I could let them down and it was a win-win for all of us. So, I continue my ritual of going out every morning to fill the feeders and put out fresh water. I also offer up a variety of fruits, vegetables, and peanuts. As the weather turned cold I even invested in a heated birdbath to prevent the water from freezing.
There was a time when I good-naturedly laughed at my Mom’s concern for the outdoor critters. It was during my busiest years, working and raising a family, and I couldn’t imagine devoting any of my precious time and energy to the wildlife; there just wasn’t enough of either.
But, times have changed.
With the kids grown, my parents gone, and a semi-retired lifestyle, I now have the time. And I consider my caretaking of the backyard animals one of my simple pleasures. I get a tremendous amount of joy looking out the window and seeing them feasting on the goodies I put out.
I have lots of simple pleasures these days: the occasional bubble bath, good books, walks in the park, playing photographer, writing, lunch dates with friends, and so much more.
And, of course, spending time with my family. We don’t even have to be doing anything special; just hanging out is best. No deadlines, no expectations, no dress code. Just being comfortable in who we are and making memories.
Time seems to be the common denominator. We spend so much of our lives working and hurrying to the next thing that we don’t really have time for simple pleasures. It’s all we can do to manage the basics.
I’m proud of all that I accomplished so far. It took a lot of hard work to raise the wonderful family that I have. It wasn’t easy getting the college degree as an adult. There were heartaches and tears along the way, but that’s life.
And, as with most things in life, there are trade offs. Apparently, the tradeoff for gray hair and creaky knees is time spent doing the things we want to do versus what we have to do.
At this stage of the game, I think it’s well worth it.
What about you?