Looking back over my life, I had very complicated pleasures. For example, when I wanted to convince people in the office to maintain their opposition to a particular practice, it all depended on what other people would do. Crowd mentality indeed. Or when I celebrated holidays, the host would make what she liked rather than what the compan liked. Mom mentality.
But as a stroke survivor, I found that my preferences transformed into simple. Here are the top ten, all of which I didn’t do before my stroke:
Waking up to greet the day
Waking up every day is my top simple pleasure. What do I do to achieve that goal? Well, there are no guarantees in life, but switching over to the plant diet almost a year ago gave me so many chances to stay healthy. In pretending about the pandemic, I maintain that eating high Vitamin C oranges somehow kept me immune from the coronavirus. That theory is not on the proven list, but eating Vitamin C is great for preventing or lessen the severity of so many other diseases anyway.
Adding the perfect amount of water to my oatmeal
I actually celebrate with an audible “Yes!” multiple times when my oatmeal comes out of the microwave perfectly. Of course, nobody is there to hear it, and I find that reassuring. It’s a game I play with myself, guessing which amount of water is suitable to add to the instant variety. Somebody who lives with one or more people doesn’t get it, but I get it. I am the only one I have to please.
Watching the washer wash
I like the sound of the washer wash clothes. I like the “Spin” cycle the best. Oftentimes, I find myself watching the washer wash the clothes–my clothes, mesmerized–which I could have worn over again but didn’t because the washer sound is relaxing, which I wouldn’t hear on re-wearing.
Balancing my checkbook
I used to balance my checkbook as drudgery, something I had to do to keep my sanity in check, often getting frustrated when I reversed numbers or got the period in the wrong place. Now, I welcome it every month because I remembered my math functions. And I like the way my handwriting improved in 11 years, keeping the figures inside the lines.
Monitoring the vegan cooking
I was always a participant, from jumping rope as a youngster, to playing my songs as a teen in the talent show, to throwing events as an adult. Now, cooking-wise, I’m still a participant. Clare, my nurse friend, who prepares all my meals, brings the pot over to me to check on the consistency or taste or color. I’d rather cook myself, but having got the handle on do’s and dont’s. this method is the next best thing.
Observing the houses surrounded by nature
Normally, in those normal times before the stroke, I went around the block and that was it, not noticing the fine points. Now, my friend and I find something new every time we go like a new fence, plants and trees in bloom, or a missing shingle or the roof. That’s the game we play, because remembering what we found a few days ago keeps my memory sharp.
Making a schedule
Every time my friend comes which are on weekdays, I present her with a to-do list of things that should be done. I can move the entries if she doesn’t have time to finish, and she likes to check off completed tasks. Most importantly, this system, too, helps me remember the current and future tasks.
Pronouncing words until I say them perfectly
I have trouble pronouncing some words. Sometimes, if I say it over and over in a day, that will be enough for future times. Sometimes, like with the “scr” words, as in prescription and subscription, having practiced for 8 years, I still get tripped up. I used to be a public speaker so it’s difficult I can’t do that anymore, but just saying words correctly is the next best thing in order to communicate effectively. When somebody says, “I can’t understand you,” my heart just breaks.
Getting a coffee package from Amazon
Not that trillionaire Jeff Bezos need free advertising, but I look forward to this Amazon coffee coming because it wakes me up with a jolt in the morning. A jolt equals instant awareness of my surroundings so that I have an uninterrupted and clutter-free path when I’m going to walk around. At $4.95 for a 12-ounce bag, you can sample all the flavors while staying alert. In a sense, priceless.
Counting the birds that fly by in 10 minutes
Birds, predominantly crows, fly by in groups. I never see one crow without another one to follow. Especially now that it’s mating season, the birds are frequent. And no, I don’t watch the birds “fornicating.” Sheesh! Birds, too, need a little privacy. And don’t think I’m a nerd. People need something to do in this pandemic.