Heading into my 38th birthday, with a lot weighing on my mind in terms of equilibrium, I’ve spent a bit of time over the last few days reflecting, as much as anything, in the simple pleasures that we can take in life.
One of those great pleasures, for me, is the sight of a freshly opened vegemite jar, without the first smear of spread taken from it. It’s pristine – it’s untouched, and it’s full of happy childhood memories:
Equally, simple pleasures can come from comfortable media. Years and years ago, I watched, then went on to buy David Attenborough’s “The Private Life of Plants”, one of those truly stellar documentaries from a happier age when every sentence didn’t seem to end with “but the environment is f*cked and we’re all going to die”, as they do now.
Alas, in the first house we moved into together, on the day after we moved in, we were broken into, and one of our VCRs was stolen. In it was one of the videos from the series. I didn’t realise it at the time, and so while the VCR was replaced, the video wasn’t, and for years I’d stare wistfully first at the videos in ABC stores, then in more recent years, the DVDs of the series, but never quite bringing myself to buying them.
Today, wanting to give me a simple present*, but one with meaning to it, Darren came home with the Private Life of Plants on DVD, and so, as I type about my simple pleasures, I’m revisiting one on the TV, and starting to watch this much loved documentary again for the first time in almost 15 years.
One of the images I remember most from the brilliant movie, Amelie, is at the start where the narrator discusses Amelie’s pleasures in life. One of them? Running her hands through the baskets of lentils and pulses in the markets. I can close my eyes and see that scene with vivid clarity almost any time I want. And I think I can, because I like the notion of simple pleasures. Sure, there’s happiness to be found in complex activities, in adult activities, in a plethora of other activities. But there’s truth to the notion of stopping to smell the roses.
Or getting to be the person who opens the vegemite jar.
* I had, after all, got a new laptop a couple of months ago which was designated my birthday present. Technically I shouldn’t have got anything!