Early on the morning after Thanksgiving, I received an email from my friend Robin who has contacted me every day since I moved from Tallahassee. I had four visitors and one extra dog and everyone was still asleep. The dogs were walked, fed, and went back to sleep and I sat in my chair to read the New York Times and catch up on emails. Robin remarked in her email that it’s a favorite time for her when everyone else is sleeping and a quiet few moments with a big mug of coffee is a lovely indulgence. I made a silly remark about having a lot of quiet moments because I live alone, but then started thinking about small pleasures.
My reading corner, with my big chair and ottoman, is one of my favorite places in the house. It’s cozy and comfortable and I can curl up with a good book, the newspaper, or watch tv. The moments in that chair help me reflect on my new life, family, friends, and retirement. I have always gauged the day by how productive it was and how much I contributed to others and so upon retiring, I felt a bit guilty for not accomplishing much on some days. However, retirement provides opportunities for really thinking about things and reflecting on those people and events that are so important to quality of life. That sounds good, doesn’t it? Anyone who has worked for as long and hard as I have will tell you that this is not easy to do. What, you say, how difficult can it be to just sit and think? Try it. What else should you be doing? What is being left undone because you are “just thinking”? Getting older and having time on my hands, I wish I had allowed myself more small pleasures. It wasn’t all that important that the house was sparkling clean for the children and dogs to quickly dirty again; it probably wasn’t that important that I check work email on long weekends or vacations because I didn’t want to have to deal with a mailbox full when I returned to work; and it probably wasn’t that important that I have everything tidy and ready for the next day. I wonder what I missed but don’t dwell on that because it’s counterproductive and time is used in different ways at different stages in our lives.
Bigger and bigger snowflakes are falling and I realize that you have to give yourself permission to enjoy the small pleasures in life, so I write this to thank Robin for pointing that out to me and in hopes that anyone reading it will give themselves permission to enjoy a good book or lovely view with a mug or glass of whatever you like in a big comfy chair. This Thanksgiving provided lots to be thankful for, not the least of which was a houseful of special people and a few quiet moments.