Follow me as I spend 2012 experiencing the simple pleasures that life has to offer. Last year I bought a book entitled ‘The Wonderful Weekend Book’ by Elspeth Thompson. Its front cover promises to help you ‘reclaim life’s simple pleasures’ and I thought “Yes! That’s what I’m missing!” so I excitedly paid for it then promptly abandoned it on a shelf in the spare bedroom. The other day I found it again.
I’m not a huge believer in fate, or destiny (although I’m not a disbeliever either) but the book really got me thinking. Am I missing out on the simpler aspects of life? The ones that remind you of what’s important and make you feel…well, alive? I’m in my thirties, married, own my own home, (well, a corner of it; the bank has its claws in the rest). No children at this stage, although not for lack of trying. Sadly we’ve had three miscarriages in the last 18 months. But that’s a whole other story; and one I might share more of at later dates.
Last year two friends in their 30’s were diagnosed with Cancer. One is now in remission (thank god) – the other died aged 32. It really got me thinking about life and how much of it I am yet to experience. I mean, I know we all hear those phrases tossed around; ‘Live every moment as if it’s your last’ etc, but how many of us really stop and think about them?
On the whole I’m happy…enough. But is enough…Enough? I could be happier that’s for sure. Like so many of you, I’m afraid I spend more time working than I do anything else. And that thought scares the crap out of me. I don’t want to waste my life working! Come the weekends I spend most of Saturday cleaning the house and doing all the washing I let pile up during the week. Sunday I pretty much spend in front of the TV, catching up on programs I’ve missed. Hmm, exciting… and so time passes. Well no longer, I’ve decided. It’s time for a change.
I’ve just returned from an annual camping trip. We camp in tents by the beach and I spend a few brief happy days walking along the shore looking for washed up treasures, eating simple but delicious meals like burgers and sausages that we cook on the campfire, and drinking copious amounts of wine out of a bright pink plastic cup. I burrow my feet into the cool sand and marvel at the beautiful colours of the sunsets, and the ocean’s various moods. It’s a magical time that rejuvenates my very soul, and I come home revived and reminded of the sights/smells/tastes of nature and the feel of the sea breeze on my skin. I swear fervently that I will remember this feeling, and I will make more of an effort to enjoy life. I leave full of inspiration, arrive home, unpack, paint the kitchen a nice ocean blue and chuck a few pieces of driftwood on the windowsill, then I plonk down in front of the TV and that’s it, I forget everything that’s waiting for me outside my front door.
So for 2012 I promise this; every weekend I will choose a weekend activity from the book to do and I will tell you all about the experience of it here. Sounds simple huh?
The book is broken down into Seasons, and I will need to make some allowances for the fact that I am from New Zealand and the author the UK and already I can tell, after a brief flick through, there are some things mentioned that I’ve never heard of! So allowing for the odd cultural difference I will try to stay as loyal to the book as I can. Because that’s another thing. The author is no longer with us. Tragically, suffering depression, Elspeth took her own life one afternoon in March 2010. Read her obituary here http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/obituaries/culture-obituaries/books-obituaries/7533118/Elspeth-Thompson.html I was devastated when I googled her after purchasing the book and finding out what had happened. Her blog is beautiful and to all extents and purposes she was living a charmed life in a couple of old railway carriages by the seaside. I suffered depression myself over a period of ten years (thankfully I’ve been depression free for the past eight years, non-medicated) so I can sympathise with what she was going through. So not only would I like to spend this year enjoying life’s little pleasures for myself, but as a tribute to Elspeth and the life she tried to live as well. She was an inspiration to many. Rest in peace Elspeth.