My Life Journey

My Favourite Simple Things (& Lots of Other Lists)

My favourite simple things

Lists can be fun! This post is an amalgamation of various lists I’ve posted over the years on MH@H. Some are focused on positives, others relate to mental illness, and others are just for fun.

Here’s a quick overview of the lists contained in this post:


Favourite simple things

Sometimes the simplest things in life are some of the best. Here are a few of my favourite simple things:

  • guinea pig kisses
  • watching the guinea pigs sleeping
  • the combination of chocolate and peanut butter
  • cozy blankets
  • soaps from Lush
  • bedtime
  • toasty slippers
  • moisturizer
  • the simple beauty of nature
  • tea
  • focaccia bread and balsamic vinegar
  • baguette and brie
  • the feeling of sun on my face
  • birdsong at dawn
  • the feeling of sand beneath my toes
  • the sound of waves crashing against the beach
  • the sound of leaves rustling in the breeze

The simplest things in life are free

And while we’re at it, let’s toss in another list, of simple things in life that are free.

  • Reading (the local library is my go-to for books, and I love that my library has ebooks that can be checked out)
  • Writing
  • Watching nature
  • Thinking about the mysteries of the universe
  • Listening to things like raindrops falling, the wind blowing through the trees
  • People-watching
  • Walks in the sunshine
  • Daydreaming
  • Singing along to your favourite songs
  • Love (cue J.Lo song My Love Don’t Cost a Thing, but don’t cue the video because I find it annoying)

My own little piece of paradise

I have a page in my bullet journal devoted to what my own little piece of heaven would look like. Here’s what it would include:

  • sunny and warm with a gentle breeze
  • an ocean beach with waves crashing against the shore
  • a grassy meadow teeming with guinea pigs and other cute critters, as well as four-leaf clovers and wildflowers
  • yummy food that was magically good for both body and soul (i.e. cheeseburger is the new salad)
  • only kind people, and not a lot of them
  • no pressure or obligations
  • simplicity
  • no trauma reminders
  • people I love
  • no future to worry about, only the present
  • good mental health

miss you message pinned to a flower branch
Image by Goran Horvat from Pixabay

Thing I miss because of depression

There’s a lot that illness has taken away from me.  Here are a few things that I miss:

  • Planning and getting excited about where my next travel destination might be
  • Enjoying spending time with close friends
  • Being interested in going to theatre performances
  • Having fun getting ready to go out somewhere nice
  • Wanting to do road trips with friends
  • Feeling positive about my work
  • Enjoy social time with coworkers
  • Caring about how I look – not in a self-critical way, but having fun with clothes, accessories, and makeup
  • Feeling hopeful about the future
  • Feeling happy
  • Enjoying local seasonal events
  • Feeling like there were lots of options open to me and I was in control
  • Being interested in book clubbing and writers festivals

I would be capable of doing the action-based items on this list, but it’s the capacity for interest/enjoyment that’s gone.  And I’ve found that trying to do things anyway but not enjoying them tends to just make me feel worse, as it emphasizes the contrast.


Things I enjoyed (pre-anhedonia)

One of the depression symptoms that’s had a big impact on my life is anhedonia (the inability to experience pleasure). I used to enjoy doing various things, but now they just don’t interest me and seem like just a vague memory. Summer is a time of year that tends to be strongly associated with pleasure, but it also tends to remind me of what’s just not there in my head/heart right now.

Some of the things I used to enjoy:

  • Going to the theatre, especially musical theatre and outdoor theatre like the local Shakespeare on the beach productions.
  • The local Fringe Festival.
  • Dance performances like ballet
  • Going to the symphony
  • Going out for food/drinks on sunny patios
  • Eating out in general
  • Wine festivals
  • Writers festivals
  • Weekend getaways
  • Playing beer league softball
  • Being part of a book club
  • Wandering around shopping and eating at the funky public market

A few random things about me

author's phoenix tattoo

I have tattoos

I have three tattoos: a dolphin on my right hip, Chinese characters on my left hip, and this phoenix on the left side of my torso. It was very painful to get, but I like it, both visually and for the symbolism.

Vancouver Canucks t-shirt circ 1993

The article of clothing I’ve owned the longest

I used to be a huge hockey fan when I was young. My team was the Vancouver Canucks. This t-shirt is from circa 1993. It’s probably 20 years since I last wore it, but it’s a good memento from happy times.

I was at least reasonably certain that I was going to end up marrying the team captain someday. The fact that he was already married wasn’t a barrier at all.

There’s more about me in the This Was Me mini-series:


Favourites from childhood

  • Books: Nancy Drew, Babysitters Club, Sweet Valley High
  • Board game: Clue
  • Music: New Kids On The Block
  • TV: Saved By the Bell, TGIF on ABC
  • Movie: Girls Just Want to Have Fun
  • Weird crush: Raphael of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
  • Outfits: aqua blue Converse high tops, slouch socks, acid wash jeans, and anything neon

My first…

Car: Jo(h)n Voigt’s Lebaron (one of Seinfeld’s many pop culture contributions). The ’89 Chrysler Lebaron (non-convertible) was passed around from my great uncle to my grandma and her partner and then to me. Tunes were via cassette deck.

Job: I didn’t have my first job until the summer after my first year at university. It involved accosting people and trying to rope them into a free lunch that would involve a hard sell for a timeshare. I only lasted one day of training and then one day of working before coming to my senses and realizing that job was not a fit for me.

Kiss: I was a bit slow getting going, and I didn’t have my first kiss until I was 19. It was at a Halloween party organized by my university faculty, and a friend of a classmate and I started flirting. He had some kind of orange face paint situation going on. We started making out, with some excessively enthusiastic tongue action on his part. Perhaps I was drunk, or perhaps I was distracted by the weirdness of the tongue, but it failed to cross my mind that his orange face would become my orange face. So yeah, not subtle.

Cell phone: Cell phones didn’t really start to become a thing until around the time I was graduating from pharmacy school. My first phone was this little Nokia number, which is Wikipedia’s list of best selling phones. Snake was the only game on it. Texting was more of a production with this kind of phone.

Computer: The first family computer was a Mac Plus circa 1990. My first computer of my own was a Compaq Presario laptop, which I got to take with me to university. I spent a lot of time playing Minesweeper. My roommate thought I was very studious, but she was quite wrong. I used the Netscape browser. I had I think 5 hours of monthly internet access through the university, and beyond that, I think I used NetZero’s free deal. And of course the good old dial-up internet noise.


Music of my life

These songs are strongly linked to different eras in my life.

  • Elementary school:
  • High school:
    • Everything I Do (Bryan Adams)
    • Pony (Ginuwine): despite the burp-like action in the background, this is truly sex in a song. Here are some of the comments left on the video on Youtube:
      • “this song wakes up everyone’s inner stripper”
      • “I swear everyone mysteriously knows how to sexy dance when this music plays…”
      • Referring to the packed western bar where Ginuwine is doing his thing: “Fun Fact: Everyone left that bar pregnant that day, even the cowboys.”
      • “I have an Uncle that’s a heavy Christian who liked this song until he found out what it really meant. He thought it was about riding a horse…”
      • “I’m pretty sure I had clothes on before listening to this.”
  • University: there was good music, but it’s the fun crappy music that really brings back memories
    • Tubthumpin (Chumbawumba)
    • Mmm Bop (Hanson)
    • Barbie Girl (Aqua)
    • S Club Party (S Club 7)
    • Country Grammar (Nelly) – listened to this while I was cruisin’ in my Lebaron
  • Dance class favourites: I’ve taken a lot of dance classes over the years, and some songs we did choreo to really stick out in my head
    • Smooth (Santana ft. Rob Thomas)
    • Hey Mama (Black Eyed Peas)
    • Dirty Diana (Michael Jackson)


pins on a map

Travel: places ticked off my bucket list

Travelling has always been a major passion of mine. Unfortunately, depression makes it rather hard to feel passionate about much of anything, but in an attempt to get myself a bit more excited about my upcoming trip to Italy I thought I’d do a post covering the places I’ve managed to tick off my travel bucket list thus far.

North America

  • Mexico
  • United States

Europe

  • Austria – my friend and I wanted to visit Mozart’s grave, but after walking there in the pouring rain the cemetery gate was locked
  • Czech Republic
  • England – I didn’t get outside of London, and will definitely need to go back
  • France – one of my all-time favourites
  • Germany – only visited Munich, so this is another country to return to
  • Greece
  • Hungary
  • Netherlands
  • Poland
  • Romania – Where else can you dance the night away at the Dracula Disco?
  • Russia – I was depressed during this trip, so didn’t really get to enjoy it. In selfies I took, my face is gaunt because I had lost so much weight due to illness.
  • Slovakia
  • Switzerland – the organization nut in me loved that all of the clocks were synchronized and trains arrived on time to the minute

Asia

  • Cambodia
  • India – I enjoyed it despite having raging diarrhea much of the time I was there
  • Israel
  • Japan – I visit here on a school exchange trip when I was 14.  The flight was hideous because back in the day people used to be able to smoke in planes.
  • Jordan
  • Kazakhstan
  • Kyrgyzstan – This is where I got to camp in a yurt (2 yurts, to be exact).
  • Laos
  • Thailand
  • Turkey
  • Uzbekistan (you can read about this trip in How Do You Say Antidepressant in Uzbek?)
  • Vietnam – As a solo white female traveller, I really stood out and acted like a magnet for chatty locals.

South America and Caribbean

  • Argentina – Alas I was too sick (thanks to Bolivia) to enjoy the famous steaks
  • Bolivia
  • Brazil – One hotel my mom and I stayed in had a porn channel on the tv and mirrors at various angles around the bed. Classy all the way.
  • Cuba
  • Peru

Africa

  • Egypt – There was so much sexual harassment from yucky Egyptian men
  • Kenya (you can see photos here)
  • Tanzania

Travel photo posts


More lists

COVID-19/mental health coping toolkit from Mental Health @ Home

The COVID-19/Mental Health Coping Toolkit page has a wide range of resources to support better mental health and wellbeing.

32 thoughts on “My Favourite Simple Things (& Lots of Other Lists)”

  1. A cosy fleecy blanket, while having a warm drink. This would be either a book, or a dvd.
    A walk in nature.
    My parlour palm plant, spider plant and yellow fake flowers, which makes it feel like home, since no longer having my cat Miley.
    Had Miley still been alive, than cuddles from her.

  2. A nice walk in the park in the early morning, a cool breeze, candle light, a good conversation and a really god book or tedtalk. I enjoyed reading your list lots of lovely but simple life pleasures.

  3. Listening to the birds in the morning
    The sound of water clashing in the torrent
    The scent of the forest early in the morning
    To watch the fire burn in the stove
    My dog and many more

  4. Lovely choices, a lot of which I’d go for too. A snuggly blanket and a good book, Lindt chocolate with a cuppa tea, my cat napping with a smile on his face (unless that’s gas…), pink blossom in the park, stillness & quiet, a lie down after a walk to ease the pain in my hips, new stationery! 🙂

  5. I so agree that simple pleasures are important. They can add up and make a difference. I know in moments of grief, a simple pleasure can bring a much needed reprieve.

    My pet parrot is a pleasure who always wants to be with me.

  6. The slow wakening from slumber, waiting for the chirp of a sparrow or glint of sunlight through the curtain. The realizing, you made it through the dark night of your soul…

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