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(4 Posts)
DoraMarr Wed 01-Jan-20 11:25:18

New Year’s Day 2020

In “Men Behaving Badly” Gary, an office drone in a dead-end job, is miserably contemplating his life. He asks his long- suffering secretary Anthea, the very model of a buttoned-up spinster “Don’t you ever think about the futility of your existence?” (I’m paraphrasing.) “Oh Yes,” she replies “ sometimes I do, but then I tidy out my tea towel drawer and I feel a lot better.”
When I first heard this, in my middle thirties, with a happy marriage and four beautiful babies, I laughed at her, like you were supposed to. But now, in my eight decade, with a quiet life spent mostly on my own, I see Anthea’s reply quite differently.
For most of us, fortunately, the trials of life are mildly unpleasant rather than devastating: the window that needs fixing, the vicissitudes of bureaucracy, the disappointment of a cancelled evening. (I’m ignoring here the life-changing events like illness and death.) We must all at some point have mornings when we wake up feeling a sort of mild dissatisfaction, or end the day annoyed with ourselves at the tasks not done, or hurt by the indifference of a friend or the slights of a family member. But it is not the grand gestures- the all- night bender, the jacking it all in and going off to live in the South Seas, the enraged text message, it is not those that help. It is going for a walk and noticing signs of spring, or the golden light of autumn, or breathing in the ashy scent of frost. It’s making a nice cup of tea and picking up a book you have read so many times its cover is soft and floury in the hand, or doing some gentle gardening that makes you stretch your slightly aching back and smile, or writing a letter to a distant friend. It’s tidying the tea towel drawer, and being pleased with the result, and counting your blessings.

wildswan16 Wed 01-Jan-20 11:31:09

The art (or blessing) of finding joy in the small things of our lives seems to have been lost for many.

The striving for more, for better, has taken the focus off our contentment with who we are.

My tea towels are on a shelf - all neatly folded, and facing the same way! I like them like that. They are old and tatty, but I still like them.

I need to smile every day and give thanks for what I have.

Septimia Wed 01-Jan-20 12:20:07

I agree, finding pleasure in little things is what makes life worthwhile. Big nice things only happen once in a while, even though they might be nice to look forward to.

Finding a level of contentment with the person you are is really important.

Yehbutnobut Wed 01-Jan-20 12:33:10

Wise words Dora. Life’s big events happened rarely and can bring their own stresses. Finding satisfaction or even joy in the small pleasures or achievements in everyday life is often undervalued.