The Simple Pleasures

Perhaps nothing has helped me more lately than my little rituals.

My morning coffee, my evening ice cream, my afternoon swim – these simple pleasures have provided familiar signposts on an unfamiliar road of anxiety and depression. And they were the first sign to my family that I was coming back to my old self after a three-year absence.

 

I haven’t been religious about these rituals, which I didn’t start until my first electroshock, or ECT, treatment last summer. For a long time, I refused to drink coffee believing it contributed to anxiety.

My husband took heart when I started drinking it again a few months ago because it meant that I could enjoy something.

Indeed, in recent months these simple pleasures have been among my few enjoyments. In particular, I’ve parked myself at my desk and spent hours at a time sipping coffee and looking out the window. It turns out that whatever my state, there are few things I enjoy doing more.

Comfort In Tough Times

Perhaps that is partly what the self is: a collection of rituals and simple pleasures that we value no matter what the circumstances. In my case, they have provided some comfort when the rest of life felt scary and overwhelming and offered a road back to a self that had been lost.

All of which is to say that I’m not cutting back on my evening ice cream, as much as my husband suggests that I should, and even though I seem to recovering from this bout of anxiety and depression. (A pint of Haagen-Dazs Pralines & Cream in case you’re wondering.) It has become too much a part of my day, and luckily swimming has kept most of the weight off. In this case, one ritual is delicately balancing out the other.

If depression and anxiety brings out your essence, then, this is what I boil down to: a woman who likes to drink coffee, eat ice cream and swim. When I haven’t recognized myself, these rituals have helped me remember who I am.

So what that I got nothing done while staring out the window for three hours. A good cup of coffee, a nice view from my desk – even at the worst times, I have found solace in the woman who loves coffee, ice cream and being in the water.

Lately more than ever, I’m grateful for the simple pleasures of life.

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What simple pleasures do you enjoy in life? Share by commenting below!

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  • Nancy

    November 22, 2016 at 12:38 am
    Reply

    Riding my horse in the woods! Exercise and fresh air at the same time. He has become my therapist. But first coffee. […] Read MoreRiding my horse in the woods! Exercise and fresh air at the same time. He has become my therapist. But first coffee. Yes definitely coffee then horse then red wine! Read Less

  • Anne Hauser

    November 21, 2016 at 7:36 pm
    Reply

    I enjoy reading your blog, summer breezes through the house and all my family and extended family! Love to you A

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About Jennifer

A former journalist for The Wall Street Journal and Time, Jennifer is the award-winning author of Beyond One: Growing a Family and Getting a Life and pens the MidAge Mom blog.

She’s profiled exceptional women from the Middle East to Latin America. Widely published, her essays have been included in two anthologies.

Jennifer is also a frequent radio and TV guest. Full Bio

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In Beyond One, Jennifer chronicles her leap from one child to two, describing the enormous impact the second child has on a woman’s body, marriage, family life, friendships and work.

"Hull is the kind of woman many moms long to be friends with. . ." -The Cleveland Plain Dealer.

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The Wall Street Journal, Time, The Atlantic Monthly, CNN.com, MS., Parenting, Real Simple, Salon.com, The Los Angeles Times Magazine, Working Mother, Harper’s Bazaar, Marie Claire, American Way, Brain, Child, The Christian Science Monitor, and more.