A lovely way to live a more chic life is to savour life’s pleasures. To let yourself enjoy life.
It’s a French attitude to deliberately take pleasure in things like food, love, fashion, beauty. But you can make it your attitude too. You can enjoy true pleasure in your life – and with it a chic attitude as you feel more centred, less uptight, and happier.
If you’d like to enjoy life more, here are suggestions.
It’s a French attitude to deliberately take pleasure in things like food, love, fashion, beauty. But you can make it your attitude too.
Step 1: To Enjoy Life Learn What Gives You Pleasure
It’s surprising how many people are out of touch with the things that give them simple joy and help them enjoy life. They’re aware of what other people like. They may know what they should like. But we are all mysterious little creatures, and our individual joys can be enigmatic.
So forgot what you think you should like and tune into what gives you a thrill of pleasure, a frisson of joy. It can be silly or unusual – you will see from my examples below that what I find pleasurable is not typical.
A Caveat: Beware Faux Pleasures
Now it’s worth mentioning something here. When I talk about what gives you pleasure, I don’t mean mindless, short-term indulgence at the expense of self-care. I’m not suggesting you go on a shopping spree and rack up credit card debt because ‘you’re worth it’. I’m not encouraging you to ditch work and binge on junk reality TV because you ‘deserve a break’. No, no, non. These are faux pleasures – they’re more about escapism and avoiding the discomfort of the moment than about nurturing your soul. True pleasures embrace something you love, faux pleasures help you avoid something you don’t want to deal with. (And faux pleasures will get a post of their own – stay tuned!)
True pleasures embrace something you love while faux pleasures help you avoid something you don’t want to deal with. Beware of faux pleasures.
Step 2: To Enjoy Life Do More Of What Gives You Pleasure
As bizarre as it may be to not know what makes you happy, odder still is the common tendency to know what we like – and yet deny ourselves, often for no good reason. No wonder we find it challenging to enjoy life.
I realised a few years ago that I often blocked myself from enjoyment. I would deny myself simple joys that didn’t feel ‘earned’ or justified. If something felt joyful or exciting, I’d feel a stab of anxiety and move away – fast!
A lot of personal growth later and I now deliberately provide pleasures for myself every week, every day. It also didn’t take long to notice that letting myself enjoy life made me a better human – kinder, more patient, more loving. So now I embrace pleasure as an important community service. You’re welcome!
As bizarre as it may be to not know what makes you happy, odder still is the tendency to know what we like – and yet deny ourselves for no good reason. No wonder we find it challenging to enjoy life.
What Gives Me Pleasure
What are my pleasures? I adore cheese, red wine, long dinners with close friends, good books, quality shows, and music – from classical to chillout to 80s but not much in between. I take immense pleasure in the outdoors, specifically coming inside from it, and camping, as in never ever having to do it. I know how to enjoy life!
But I thought I’d mention some other pleasures, to stimulate your thinking about what your true pleasures could be. None is very expensive, all may help you enjoy life more than you’d expect from such gentle delights.
1. White sheets
There’s something about simple white sheets that feels so luxurious. My duvet covers are mostly white, too: a textured white that adds cosiness for winter, a beachy pale-blue-and-white stripe for summer, and a sleek white satin self-stripe for in-between months.
There’s nothing like getting into a beautifully made bed of pure white sheets – so lovely and chic. I love arranging myself with my novel and feeling grateful for my comfy bed.
2. Croissants every Sunday
For years Craig and I have enjoyed a Sunday breakfast ritual of croissants with coffee and our iPads – for me it’s the crossword, for Craig a book or article. I buy the croissants on Saturday – the bakery sets aside my order as soon as they’re out of the oven, as they often sell out. (I taste-tested every bakery in my suburb to find the most buttery, authentic ones. So diligent!)
On Sunday morning I heat the croissants to perfection in the oven till they’re crisply flaky on the outside and deliciously pull-part on the inside. The apartment smells divine! I make a soy flat white for Craig and a strong latte for myself, et voila. It feels like such a chic treat! I look forward to it and savour the pleasure every week.
On Sunday morning I heat the croissants to perfection in the oven till they’re crisply flaky on the outside and deliciously pull-part on the inside. The apartment smells divine!
3. Moleskine notebooks
Every morning I do my version of morning pages in my Moleskine cahier. For middle-of-the-night ideas I keep a small pink Moleskine notebook and a pink Lamy pen by my bedside. And whenever I’m planning a new project, I use a medium Moleskine notebook to sketch out ideas. Moleskine notebooks are expensive, but the paper is beautiful to write on, the binding quality is high, and they are quite simply a pleasure to use.
This is a fine example of how true pleasures are often no more expensive. I used to be a notebook junkie, amassing such a cache of them I felt personally guilty whenever dwindling forests were mentioned. But since giving myself the pleasure of Moleskine notebooks, I’ve stopped wasting time and money on anything else.
4. Beautiful art
I would love a home with beautiful art on every wall, and one day I may have that. For now, I get to enjoy gorgeous art every single day.
I have two high quality page-a-day desktop art calendars, so every day brings two new paintings to study and savour. I often stop as I walk past a calendar to take another look at a particular painting.
I also have an art app on my 27-inch desktop Mac that populates my wallpaper with artworks from major collections throughout the world. I generally have only a window or two open at a time while I work and enjoy seeing an artwork peeking at me from behind. As I’m typing this, it’s van Gogh’s Sheaves of Wheat. I sometimes minimise my windows just to feel the pleasure of looking at the piece, as I recently repeatedly did with this glorious painting, Veneza by Dario Villares Barbosa. The colours! The calm!
5. Modern calligraphy
This is a new hobby so I’m still a beginner and I won’t lie to you – there’s a lot of tracing paper involved. I’m starting with brush calligraphy, but there are many styles I’d like to master. But my key reason for doing it is not skill but pleasure – the slow, repetitive quality of the strokes makes it a beautiful meditative practice. As soon as I feel myself getting all uptight or perfectionistic, I stop and take a breath, and look for the pleasure, not the striving. Pleasure is what I’m there for.
TIP: It’s much easier to keep the fun in the practice with an 80s singalong soundtrack playing in the background.
I used to be a notebook junkie, amassing such a cache of them I felt personally guilty whenever dwindling forests were mentioned. But since giving myself the pleasure of Moleskine notebooks, I’ve stopped wasting time and money on anything else.
What Gives You Pleasure
So, mes amies, what about you?
First, do you know what gives you pleasure? If not, can you start tuning in to yourself, to your unique sources of joy and excitement?
And do you let yourself enjoy life? If not, will you allow yourself to savour life’s small pleasures?
It’s a very chic attitude to have!
Your Chic Life Assignment For Week 12
- Do you know what gives you pleasure? This week notice when something feels good, what brings you joy, what sparks excitement. Start to tune into the sensations that tell you what you love.
- Choose something you don’t currently allow yourself, but which you will add pleasure to your life. Use my list for inspiration or write in your journal to see what ideas you can generate. Then…. do it!
This post is part of my 12-Week Series: 12 Ways To Live A Chic Life.
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