I’ve never been a great fan of organised exercise. I don’t like gyms finding them smelly and stuffy, I’m pretty clumsy and uncoordinated and I lack physical courage. However the one form of exercise which never usually lets me down is walking – provided it’s done on the flat of course. Putting one foot in front of the other and covering terrain steadily and effortlessly provides me with much simple pleasure.
And sometimes it doesn’t. Sometimes it can feel a bit boring especially when the terrain – as in walk to Kensington Gardens, round the pond, down to the Serpentine, round the Serpentine, down the other side past the Italian Gardens and home (about eleven thousand steps if you must know)- has been covered numerous times before.
Then I need to spice things up a bit.
Like I did today. Literally.
As I passed Pret A Manger, my feet turned right instead of carrying straight on and I found myself in front of the hot food section studying the soups. Wouldn’t it be nice I thought, if I purchased the hot and spicy tomato soup and ate it by the pond on this very cold day? I could find a bench all to myself by the water and I could look at the swans and the ducks and sip my hot soup and I could turn what was a fairly routine and boring though necessary outing in to not just a simple pleasure but an exquisite one.
Which is what happened. The soup was delicious and still hot despite the walk from shop to bench, bench unoccupied, pond grey and still and the birds lonely and graceful in their wintery habitat.
I felt at peace and glad that by adding one simple pleasure to another I’d achieved a whole other layer of pleasureableness.
I also achieved my step count for the day.
Sometimes if life feels a bit mundane or difficult, there’s no harm in making it more enjoyable for yourself. Why not have a chocolate biscuit with your coffee if that report is proving a pain to write? Why not watch a bit of reality TV if you’re feeling low after a bad day?
For as my very wise Dad always says, a little of what you fancy does you good and he’s 97 and still enjoying a great many simple pleasures which is possibly why he’s such a pleasure to be with. I know he’d love a delicious, hot and spicy soup on a bench in the chilly park while watching the ducks skim across the water.
And my guess is you would too.