Endangered Pleasures

Way back when, one of my favorite English professors assigned us the book: Endangered Pleasures, In Defense of Naps, Bacon, Martinis, Profanity, and Other Indulgences. I loved it, so much in fact I ended up reading it several times throughout the years (which I don’t often do given the number of books I consistently have waiting in the wings). I still remember the book fondly, despite the fact that I haven’t picked it up in ages, and I’m considering reading it yet again in light of COVID-19.

The title is pretty self-explanatory. Endangered Pleasures leads the reader on a tour of some of the author’s favorite simple things in life, many of which had developed a reputation for being unhealthy, unproductive, or uncouth. For these reasons – much to the author’s horror – she felt too many of her pleasures were falling out of favor and therefore becoming endangered. The reader learns how each of the endangered pleasures highlighted in the book enhances the author’s life.

2020 has turned out to be one of the strangest years ever, a year we will all surely remember and talk about for the rest of our lives. Some people’s lives have changed more dramatically than others as they find themselves working virtually for the first time, homeschooling children, and feeling too isolated from family and friends. Everyone has made sacrifices, from canceled vacations to fewer hugs with loved ones, and it’s had me considering my own simple pleasures in life, endangered or not. I’m realizing there are things I had been taking for granted, which I now fully appreciate again. There are also new pleasures I’ve discovered as a result of not being able to default to all of my usual pastimes. It’s been insightful to self-evaluate, exploring how to keep myself sane, content, and growth-focused during a time when many of life’s sweet delights are harder to access, especially things like travel and dining out at lovely farm-to-table restaurants  – activities which have always made my life richer and succeeded in lighting me up.

Here are some simple pleasures I’ve identified for myself so far:

  • Working in my gardens
  • Watching butterflies in my gardens
  • Reading
  • Hugs (LOTS of hugs)
  • Setting puzzles (NOT my hubby’s thing, but I sure have fun with it, and I’m pretty sure he’s finding delight in making fun of my new pastime)
  • Savoring a cup of tea or coffee
  • Hiking and exploring state parks
  • Daily walks with my sweetheart
  • Conversations with neighbors we run into on our daily walks
  • Shopping at farmers markets
  • Phone and FaceTime dates with friends and family
  • Backyard patio dates with friends
  • Watering and tending to my indoor plants
  • Adopting more indoor plants!
  • Researching home decorating ideas
  • Researching potential new recipes and then giving them a shot
  • Writing (for personal pleasure, letters, thank you notes, notes for no reason, etc.)
  • Fishing
  • Tidying up corners of our home, clearing out my closets
  • Chocolate
  • Listening to podcasts (also, sharing podcast recommendations with friends, then discussing together)
  • Bird watching, especially hummingbirds at the cabin
  • Getting take-out with friends, then enjoying picnics together in state parks
  • Walking down a musical memory lane, revisiting favorite CD’s throughout my life (and subsequently singing my heart out)
  • Taking advantage of all the opportunities to learn new things online
  • Knitting
  • Boning up on my French language skills through Duolingo (a free app)
  • Going to bed early and getting a really good night’s sleep
  • Sunrises and sunsets
  • Decluttering my file cabinet (yes, this is truly pleasurable for me; love that dopamine kick I get each time I recycle some paper)
  • Visiting farms that are comfortable having people visit, enjoying feeling close to the source of my food
  • Listening to thunderstorms
  • Dancing
  • Swimming
  • Campfires

Simple, simple pleasures. And this is just a start. What are some of your simple pleasures, and can you bring more of them into your life?



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2 replies
  1. Alice R
    Alice R says:

    Good morning, Claudine. I love your list of Simple Pleasures. It’s a great reminder that “Life is Good” even in these crazy days of COVID. I would add to your list:

    Taking a short nap in the middle of the day without having to worry about what’s not being done…..There will be time later.

    Watching my grandchildren slide down the hill in my backyard.

    Learning what’s on the mind of my three older grandkids, ages 5, 4 and 4. LIfe from their perspective is often informative and usually hilarious. (Also watching the younger two, aged 2, learn about life and watching them communicate without words)

    I’m sure there’s more, but these came to mind quickly.

    Thanks for the reminder, Claudine!

    Cribbage with my Honey, even though he usually beats me.

    Starting my day with a brief devotion. It’s amazing how many times God speaks directly to me in these randomly selected passages.

    Catching up (phone or FAceTime) with old acquaintances with whom I have lost touch. They are as tired of this COVID as I am and LOVE the contact.

    • Claudine Arndt
      Claudine Arndt says:

      I love these, Alice! Thank you for sharing. I hope we don’t lose track of these simple pleasures once the world opens up again. I am going to try to be super conscious to stay present with them going forward. :)


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