We have all heard the saying “it’s the simple things in life that are important.” Do you believe it? Has your opinion changed as the pandemic continues to rule our lives? Does the Christmas season impact your feelings on this?
Several events have conspired to make the simple things most important to me. All year round, pre-pandemic, but especially during the pandemic.
It is coming up on nine years since I retired from work in a local hospital as a medical laboratory technologist. I loved my career in healthcare, but it was becoming increasingly stressful. My advancing age increased workload with less staff due to budget constraints, and several health issues were stacked against me.
I gave up hospital work with mixed emotions; I met lots of wonderful people and have lots of great memories from my thirty years there. Of course, a healthy pension and a severance package made the decision easier. These financial aids also made it possible and relatively simple to switch gears into a new career. The day after I left the hospital, Gardens4u, my gardening business, was born.
As you can probably imagine, working in gardens all day, as my own boss, at my own pace, is stress-free and so much healthier. Appreciating the beauty of nature, exposure to fresh air and sunshine, as well as increased physical activity (exercise) built into my workday are the simple things I chose.
The Joy of Grandkids
It is no secret that I am the proud Grandma to five beautiful, very active, adorable grandchildren. Ranging in age (currently) from (almost) eight months to seven years old, these sweethearts have simply stolen my heart.
The more time I spend with them, (I have been fortunate to be able to spend time with them during the pandemic) experiencing life through their eyes, the more I realize how important and basic the simple things in life are. Christmas time only heightens that awareness as many experiences are “firsts” for them, or at least that they remember. After all, last Christmas was a long time ago, relatively speaking.
I have always been the primary decorator in our home, but over the years as my sons have grown up and moved out, decorating had become less of an adventure and more of a chore. Grandchildren change that. This year my three oldest have brought the magic back as they helped me decorate.
Enjoying the decorations through their eyes brings back memories of when their dads were young. Most of our decorations are (still) inexpensive, handmade treasures. We never did graduate to purchasing expensive, more intricate decorations, preferring to stick with the simple, cherished ones affiliated with the memories of yesteryear.
These hard plastic stars are a favourite with the kids, hung over individual bulbs on the tree, they reflect the light, creating sparkles. They also make a great tool for teaching counting, sorting and colour matching, although the kids don’t have to know that.
Exercise has always been simple to me, if I make it too difficult I don’t do it. Whether bending, squatting, digging or raking in my gardens, walking around our neighbourhood with hubby, swimming or just puttering at the cottage, or cavorting with the grandkids, simple forms of exercise work best. When I can’t do any of the above, planks are still a favourite.
On a recent trip to a local park, on a rainy day, my almost three-year-old granddaughter found the last patch of quickly-melting snow in the park and decided to create a slide. A simple find that created lots of fun. And a muddy jacket and rain suit, but nothing a quick wash couldn’t fix.
Another park visit, on a much colder day, had this granddaughter and her almost four-year-old cousin “racing” Grandma across the fields. Her baby brother watched from the sidelines with his momma. Delicious, candy cane-flavoured hot chocolate and Timbits from Tim Hortons warmed our cold hands and tummies between the racing and the play structure fun.
The Beauty in Nature
I have always been a nature lover, just one of the simple things in life I appreciate. My backyard is an oasis of sorts to wildlife. Squirrels, rabbits, chipmunks, a variety of bird species, and racoons frequent my gardens, trees and pond. Recently we added another bird feeder, filled with spicy seed to deter the squirrels from raiding it. It is entertaining to watch the squirrels try to outsmart the feeder though.
A pair of cardinals visit our yard often. The male is vibrant red while the female is browner with a red beak. Their red colouring really shows up well in the bleak dormant trees, and especially well in snowy weather. The puffed-up male looks really cold! The large cardinal, bottom right, is a whimsical decoration I leave on my deck all year round. The real cardinals seem to like him!
As the pandemic continues to restrict our actions and interactions, I hope you are taking the time (who doesn’t have time these days?) to enjoy some simple things in life too, especially during the Christmas season. You don’t have to look very hard to find them.