You can relax, I promise. This one isn’t going to be a downer.
Lately, I’ve had a morning routine that I’m enjoying and seemed to have developed on its own. While before I’d had to force changes to old habits, with awkward levels of success, this one just seemed to pop up on its own almost immediately after I stopped boozing half the time, then recovering from the boozing the other half. Those every-second-mornings when I was neither drunk or hungover (before I would pour my first drink of the next cycle) were the only times I’d be able to really do anything of substance. Stuffing everything into only a few hours is tough.
This whole new framework of habits has developed naturally, almost spontaneously, and is a heck of a lot healthier than anything I think I could’ve planned on my own. Besides coffee, which funny enough I never really drank that much of during the pitch-and-roll years, and writing for about four hours every day (what a treat that is!), I’ve begun to go looking for – and sharing – what I call my first smile of the morning.
Though a somewhat abstract idea most of the time, I’ve always believed in the power of simple pleasures and the satisfyingly calm effect they can have on our souls. I like a latte every now and again, but with a sprinkle of cinnamon not because it adds to the flavour, but because of the scent of it rising up to meet me as I lift the cup to sip. When I’d have to get up early for work on chilly winter mornings, I’d allow myself an extra ten minutes in the shower, after washing and shampooing, to stand in the stream while gradually turning up the hot water. I call it my poor man’s sauna and I think most people love that one. Everyone knows what simple pleasures are, and indulges in them to one extent or another, but not everyone truly enjoys the full effect of those they’re given.
As a man out in public in the age we live in, I’d once felt embarrassed, almost ashamed, to watch children playing. OMG what if someone thinks I’m a perv? Now I don’t give a holy hell what people may think because what I feel in my heart is more important than the casual leery glances I might get (but never really have), and I breathe in that unadulterated glee because it’s as necessary to life as the oxygen that comes with it. You should too.
Simple pleasures happen all the time. If we consciously seek them out (not to the point of distraction, mind you), and with thought drain them dry of every wee ounce of quiet joy we can, particularly when our day begins, they can provide balance to the not so pleasurable but equally simple stressors of our everyday lives. I believe happiness is a transient thing, it comes and it goes and cannot be captured to hold in a jar forever. Take it where you find it, and soak.
My first smile of the morning is a treat I look forward to like my first sip of coffee, only a bit more potent. Yesterday it was a simple video clip filmed by a parent of a third-grade class recreating a Jackson 5 performance. I haven’t yet found today’s but I plan to actively search for it, and I will stumble on it, and I will allow my smile to be as big as it wants, as satisfying and fulfilling as it can be, and then I will try to share it as best I can.
Okay, I found it. It was a simple picture someone had posted on Facebook of a border collie looking up, his big black nose the biggest thing in the Photo, and I remembered the times I would wake up and look with sleepy eyes off the side of my bed to my own border sitting there staring at me just like this one. That’s Shane up top there, after I’d said a word every dog knows: cookie. Wasn’t he the cutest thing?
I’m still smiling.
Tell me your simple pleasures, the ones that make you smile. Let’s build a go-to box we can all share.