I’m quite a big fan of travel and seeing the world.
I’m extremely lucky that some of my most memorable experiences have come from reasonably expensive journeys to many different parts of the world. Discovering new cultures, gaining new experiences and ultimately, trying to see as much as possible of what this great planet and life has to offer.
While I don’t intend to stop exploring any time soon, I have come to the realisation that while travelling and seeing new places is great, I am also surrounded by familiar joys that give me pleasure on a weekly or even daily basis. Luxury yachts, mansions and jacuzzis are all fun to have – I’m sure – but if you don’t have familiar joys in your life, then the vast majority of your days (and therefore life) will be wished away, waiting for the next big joy to come around. With a little bit of mindfulness and gratitude, you can notice that the small, familiar joys are always here.
So what exactly are familiar joys? These are usually small things that you enjoy that are either unique to you, your family, where you come from or some other small sub-group that you belong to. Familiar joys are those small moments of contentment and peace that you encounter on a regular basis from the little things. They also tend to be those things that if you took someone from the other side of the world and explained it to them, they just wouldn’t get it.
I have a number of familiar joys that fill me with life and happiness. I’m British, so perhaps it is unsurprising that I take great pleasure from the ‘cup of tea breaks’ that I get to have throughout the day. For me, sitting down with a cup of tea and biscuit is one of those familiar joys that I don’t think that I will ever tire of.
Another familiar joy for me is going for a Sunday afternoon stroll. It’ll always be somewhere in the city, in a park or along the coast. Sunday afternoons for me are a time to decompress, be present, reflect, look forward to the following week and spend some time with loved ones. Again, many people can see where I am coming from with this familiar joy, whereas there will be many out there who simply can’t.
In his post ‘A Million Nameless Joys Await‘, the author talks about one of his familiar joys of “Stepping Into Your Old Familiar Boots After Taking Off Skates” – the feeling of your soft boot after spending a couple of hours tied into uncomfortable plastic ice skates. He likens this to the joy of a home-cooked meal for him, with many Canadians, Minnesotans, Wisconsinites and Scandinavians all likely to be familiar with this small joy. Me? I’ve experienced it once or twice, but it certainly isn’t a familiar joy for me and something that I get regular pleasure out of.
Familiar joys are present in your life right now. There are ones from your past that you no longer get to enjoy and there are ones that are awaiting you in the future. One might have been going to the sweet shop with your dad every Saturday morning. One might be going to the sweet shop every Saturday morning with your son. I could name thousands of possible examples of them but it would be pointless. For the many, they would sound mundane and boring. But for the select few, they would be some of the most treasured moments of their whole lives.
That’s the whole point of familiar joys. They’re not right for everyone, but they’re perfect for you.
Everyone has their own familiar joys, make sure that you make more time for yours.