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Simple Pleasures

September marks another turn of the seasons as we see summer begin to fade away and fall arrive with a burst of colors. Perhaps it is the smell of the fresh crisp air in the mornings, the sights of changing colors, the sounds of crunching leaves under foot, or the flavors of the holidays that makes the Autumn months remind me to appreciate life's most simple pleasures.

In a recent discussion with a friend, she told me that she had decided to quit chasing success in lieu of creating more balance between her work and life. Finding pleasure in the simple things and focusing on her health and wellness. She says life is better. I definitely think she is happier, which got me started thinking about what types of things do people consider as simple pleasures.

Luckily, in this day and age of quants and big data, a person can find research on almost anything. In an April 2021 study, researchers at One Poll, polled 6,000 adults in the US, UK, Australia, and Singapore to determine their top 50 little things that bring them joy. Global favorites include Listening to your favorite song, having a nice dinner, and making someone smile or laugh. In a time where society seems more fractured than ever, what I found most interesting and comforting is that we are a lot more alike than different, at least in what brings us simple pleasures, regardless of where we live in the world.

My personal favorite is Getting a delivery in the post which rated 14th, 20th, 15th, and 35th in the USA, UK, Australia, and Singapore, respectively, and near the top for me. Sadly, Giving to Charity was ranked near or at the bottom of all the lists at 42nd, 50th, 49th, and 41st. I wonder if the experts got it wrong in saying generosity makes people happier. And lastly, I am a little stumped regarding the #6 USA response on spotting a species of bird you've never seen before, but I guess there are a lot more birdwatchers in America than I had thought.

If you are curious, here are the top 10 from each country:

Now for some more sobering findings. 63 percent of those polled believe they don’t get to enjoy life’s simplest pleasures often enough for their liking. While 62 percent don’t have enough time in their day-to-day to take advantage of small pleasures as much as they should. 40 percent listed work and family commitments as the main reasons for their lack of time.

For us 62-percenters, take heart, not all is lost, for it is not time that we lack, but rather, simple awareness. If we could only see the world through the eyes of children, we would remember what it was like to see the magic that surrounds us all. Whether it is relishing a beautiful morning, hearing the sounds of children laughing, or even spotting a new species of bird, simple pleasures are everywhere and in everything we do.

So as we enter into the traditional season of giving thanks and celebrating family, let's all find the time to take stock, reflect, and be thankful for the simple pleasures in each of our lives. No matter how little or how big, our circumstance in life, or how troubled the water seems, we still have quite a few things to be grateful for each day. And before we go to sleep, let's count our blessings to help us sleep a little easier, dream a little more joyfully, and wake up a little more thankful for the day ahead.

(to be continued)

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