Experiencing The Simple Life

2014-08-09 09.21.49Over the last two weeks I’ve been off work, but for most of that time I’ve continued my usual pattern of daily activities, which means every minute of the day filled with something useful, whether it’s exercise, stretching, meditation, reading, writing, shopping etc.  In fact it’s difficult for me to think back to a time when I’ve not been doing stuff all day.  This week though after several weeks in a flare and suffering the exhaustion that comes with travel my body was sending clear “slow down” messages.  This coincided with a rare quiet time at home with Debbie, Jennie and Steph all being away and depending on the day Tess or Ann also being away.  Bottom line I found myself at home, enjoying mostly good weather, but too tired to exercise much and with only one child for occasional company.

It was an incredibly and surprisingly relaxing experience, in fact I found myself more relaxed than I’ve ever been.  The house was quiet, clean and tidy.  I had nothing that needed to be done, but could potter around doing rewarding odd jobs. I had the time to do jobs slowly and consciously and found that even boring jobs done in that way were very enjoyable.  I was living a simple, mindful, life for a few days and it was glorious in a way that the odd moments of mindful living I normally enjoy couldn’t possibly match.  Any thoughts of boredom were quickly banished as I discovered that jobs done carefully, mindfully and well, take a lot more time than the usual rushed way that I normally work.  Here are a few examples of those simple, enjoyable jobs:

  1. Cleaning a paintbrush after painting the garage door
  2. Backing bread for dinner
  3. Washing up
  4. Making my daily green smoothie

I’ve done all of these jobs many times in the past, but they took on a new dimension of enjoyment when they were done with no time pressure or distractions and the quality of the completed product was more rewarding than usual, trivial though the jobs were.

I also noticed that even though I was eating less (because I was exercising less) I rarely snacked between meals, I had no temptation to comfort eat at all.

I realised that maybe this is what many people think of as a holiday, a type of holiday I’ve never experienced before.  A type of holiday that’s I never had as an energetic child and has never been possible with 4 kids and a wife who always likes to be doing something.  Unfortunately this didn’t really count as a holiday for me as I’m still battling significant body pain and daily migraines but it was an experience to treasure and one that I’m looking forward to enjoying even more when I’m feeling better.

Maybe living by the beach means I’m destined to enjoy the classical beach holiday more often in my future and I feel more confident about filling my time in retirement as a result.

The photo today is from one of the few stormy days this week, which provided a glorious view of the clouds.

Steve Richards

I'm retired from work as a business and IT strategist. now I'm travelling, hiking, cycling, swimming, reading, gardening, learning, writing this blog and generally enjoying good times with friends and family

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