Thursday, September 2, 2010

Life's Little Pleasures

Ever since her book was first released, the story of Elizabeth Gilbert of Eat, Pray, Love fame has gotten my dander up. I can't help but bristle at the self-indulgence of someone who has to run away like a petulant child to truly experience life. Especially since she comes home to all her old problems - the same men, the same life - and still can't find life's little pleasures. The recent release of the film inspired by her story has gotten my ire up all over again and left me steaming quietly at the social inadequacies of our culture that we've managed to breed entire generations that can't seem to find a simple moment of brightness in a crowded day.

Then, today I read this interview with the immensely talented Terry Pratchett. I have admired the man since I read my first copy of The Colour of Magic (I'm on edition three, they tend to wear out over time!). My quiet moments have been more enjoyable and my conversations more interesting for the benefit of all that he has taken the time to write for the world. In the interview linked above he talks about facing his own failing faculties - a daunting prospect for someone whose life's work and the source of his greatest recognition has been the creative products of his brain. In the midst of this new lifestyle of wondering what new limitations each day may bring, he can stil find simple joys. He mentions seeing a bit of rusted barbed wire and a tangled vine that had grown up over and around it in the midst of a hedge and the simple, superb beauty of the browns and reds woven together.

It pleased me to hear (or read) him sharing such a mundane moment - seeing a vine in a bit of man-made debris - with such delight. If you're still reading, you've finally gotten to the nub - my firm belief that simple joys can be found nearly anywhere, in every day, if we could only be bothered to look. Check back periodically and you'll be able to share in my little pleasures, whereever they may occur. Well, not technically where ever. I have not a web-enabled mobile phone, so I'll be enjoying my moments as they happen and sharing them well after the fact.

Today's little pleasure: counting rail cars. When was the last time you did that, I ask? Do you stop for a train and find your blood pressure going up because you're cross about the delay? Or do you look at it with a child's eyes, counting the cars, marvelling at the unusual ones (Burlington Zephyr, anyone?) and having a guess what might be in them? That's my LLP for the day - counting train cars and marveling at the greater network of opportunity and freedom the rails represent.


mim said...

I so agree with you about finding your little pleasure close to you home and heart, or traveling if you get to do it, but Gilbert's book just didn't do it for me. I thought "me me me/" Lots of my younger friends liked it so I thought, maybe generation thingy going on. But maybe not. Thanks for this post.

tarabu said...

I couldn't bear the self-centeredness of Ms. Gilbert's book either. Just because you can like yourself on holiday, doesn't mean you're a different person when you come home. Being able to be happy in the midst of the daily grind is a much better skill in my little world!

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