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How To Truly Enjoy The Simple Pleasures of Life

by Shafiqah Samarasam. |

What was one thing you learnt from the lockdown?

Now, with this question, I’m sure many things come to mind - family, friends, and jobs. Honestly, this list just goes on. As the restrictions in our country started to loosen up, I met with my cousin who was stationed in the east coast of Malaysia and we, too, started to discuss this topic. And well, our answer was simple - time.

With the lockdown, we lost the time to be outside. But, we gained time for ourselves and learnt how to make better use of our time. We learnt what we took for granted and started to really cherish and appreciate them. Personally, being at home changed a lot about me. I was battling with my emotions, losing weight along the way, but I also found myself well rested and conscious. Yes, you read that right - conscious. I have always been the person that really tries to understand, be aware and enjoy what I’m doing.

I know that in this day and age, the need to make the most of our day is crucial. It’s always about making use of our time by filling it with something productive. Doing something counterproductive or wasting time is always seen as the path to failure. For the longest time, I was a believer of this and deep down, I know I still am. But with the changes to the trajectory of my life now, I’m starting to rediscover and relearn the simple pleasures of life.

Of course, I really want to be able to enjoy everything that I do in life, but for now, I just pay attention to a few aspects that are just simplistically simple.

1. Enjoying Car Rides

I mean, who doesn’t like a car ride? In the rain, with nice music on, cruising by the beach... It just sets the perfect scene for relaxation. But let’s face it - it’s not always that we get the time to enjoy the perfect setting in car rides. For many, car rides are always a long commute to work filled with honks and cars trying to cut lanes. And a way for us to momentarily escape that is by getting online, checking Instagram or our emails.

That’s why I’ve come to enjoy one thing - removing the need to use our phones. It would seem hard at first, but I took to learning this by changing my perspective: I have the chance to be outdoors. If you think carefully, being at work isn’t outdoors, it’s just being outside. So, we start our morning indoors at home, commute out to work to spend time indoors in our office, and end the day by commuting back home, which is practically indoors again.

Gotten the reality of this yet? It’s telling us that we spend almost no time looking at a different view. So, when you’re in a car ride, try to put that phone down and just look around. Look at other cars, the sky, the buildings, or even in your own car - you’d be surprised to find out what’s hidden in plain sight.

2. Sitting In Silence

If I could get a dollar for every time someone questions why I’m quiet, I’d be a hundredaire. Growing up as an introvert and really enjoying books as companions really taught me how to be positively silent. The narrative isn’t just sitting in silence alone, but it’s also about having some me-time. I’ve been told that eating out alone or going shopping alone isn’t enjoyable, and well, my question would be “Have you really tried it?”.

Sitting in silence has so many benefits for ourselves, considering we spend every waking moment being with other people. For starters, it may be hard to start big by eating alone, so the best way to really enjoy this simple pleasure is at night before we go to bed. Just spend some time reflecting on the day by writing things down in your journal. The key is to not get your mind engaged on too many activities, but focus slowly on your thoughts.

3. Eating Slowly

Possibly the most enjoyable thing that’s most natural for us is eating. It’s always something that brings us so much joy in life, be it done alone or in a group. The mannerisms to dining etiquette have also changed, where technology has taken the precedence at dining tables. Our phones fill the void of needing to entertain ourselves within a big group, which does not necessarily change the dynamic of dining but has really changed the concept itself.

On the flip side, one issue with us not fully enjoying the pleasures of eating is how we rush ourselves when we eat. This is done when eating in a group or even alone because our mind is always focused on getting back to work and on quickly eliminating the hunger we face. With time, this will definitely not sit well with our health and cause problems in the future. That is why I always prioritise enjoying eating by doing one simple thing - chewing slowly. You’d be surprised to know how chewing slowly actually invigorates your brain to really taste the meal and actually learn to be pleased by it.

Trust me, this isn’t about soul searching or finding a new life to invest in. It’s really about paying attention to your current life and making the best out of it. If you are able to find the simple pleasures in the things mentioned here, I’m sure you’d find it in you to open up to more exciting moments in life.

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