After the events of the last week I’ve decided to re-list the twelve daily deeds of delight for health and happiness. Each must be performed every single day. Each must be done without hurry, without thinking about what comes next.
- Drink tea. (I like hot Irish breakfast but some strange people prefer it cold, with ice in it, and I’m okay with that, as long as the tea is freshly brewed and not some vile packet thing.)
- Eat chocolate. (I mean chocolate not brown ‘candy’, and I most definitely do not, notnotnot, mean Hershey’s; may be combined with drinking tea.)
- Drink wine. (May substitute beer.)
- Eat a piece of fruit. (I mean fruit, a whole something you could pick from a tree or vine: an apple, a nectarine, a pear; not juice; not sorbet; not a disgusting frozen pie; a plump ripe luscious piece of mouth-watering fruit grown without herbicides or pesticides.)
- Eat fresh vegetables. (I mean a brightly coloured, vitamin-stuffed vegetable, not starch, not french fries or creamed corn or frozen peas, but some still-glistening with the dew asparagus, lightly sauted in olive oil; roasted beets and leeks and rutabaga; steamed cabbage tossed in Danish butter and freshly-ground white pepper. Vegetables.)
- Have sex. (Why would you do Kegel’s exercises when orgasm is the best way to exercise your pelvic floor? Why would you do step-exercises when you can use all major muscle groups and get a good cardiovascular exercise, with thrills? Why do couples therapy when you can bond the old-fashioned way?)
- Get out in the fresh air. (Walking or rolling from the office to the car doesn’t count; I’m talking about the park, the beach, the city at one o’clock in the morning: breathe deep of cool, living air.)
- Do nothing, think nothing, say nothing for at least 5 minutes. (It gets easier with practise; beginners should start in the bath.)
- Look at something (or listen) with attention—a bird or a beetle, the back of your hand or a glass of water, a shoe or a pencil—until you see something new. (Newness is all around us; trust me, this one puts a sparkle around your day for hours, and it’s a must for beginning artists.)
- Read a novel. (May substitute a good poem or two, or a play or script, but not non-fiction.)
- Enjoy a glass of cool, clean water and feel very, very lucky.
A bad day is when I do fewer than seven things on this list. A good day is nine or more. A brilliant day is every single thing on the list (some more than once) plus a few extra.
Ponder what makes a good day for you, and do it.
7 thoughts on “The dozen daily delights”
This is a brilliant list.
I’m printing it out and putting it on the fridge and then sneaking a copy into my partner’s planner and I’m going to put another copy between the keyboard and screen of her laptop when it is closed.
She’ll take it more seriously knowing the source of this list too.
Thanks for this.
Don’t forget daily silence, which is a subset of noticing.
I insure I have a large stash of Earl Grey for a mood change :-)
I would replace tea with coffee — really good coffee, with nice coffee rituals to go with it. I don’t mean just enough to get caffeinated. Even my sweetheart, a tea drinker like you, likes the aroma of the coffee beans when I grind them in my old-fashioned manual grinder. And taking a nice walk that ends at my favorite coffee shop for an excellent, creamy latte made by friendly baristas combines a walk with a pleasurable drink.
And while I, too, believe in fiction and think it tells greater truths than mere recitals of facts, I would submit that some non-fiction has transcendent qualities and should be allowed.
But with these minor substitutions, I love your list.
Thank you for enlivening my imagination these last two months. I’ve read 3 of your books and will read more. Your use of nature as a character has sent me into dreamland with much joy so, thanks for that. I’m glad knowing you live here in the same city as I do. It’s a fine place though alittle busy and angsty these days too.
Be well and have a great rest of your summer,
@Julia: I suspect Seattle’s not the only place to feel busy and angsty at the moment. It’s been a hell of a year. But I’m loving the summer; it’s practically perfect lately. My hope now? It stays this way for two months…
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