Switch to mobile version

October 2019

Post image for How to Make Life More Pleasurable

Throughout my grade school years I noticed a pattern: whenever classes started again, sleep became much more enjoyable.

It felt like such a gift to discover, by peeking at my alarm clock, that I had another eighteen sweet minutes of blanket-time before the alarm went. Each one was a treat.

Obviously, sleep became more pleasurable because it became more precious. I was busier and couldn’t overindulge in it as I apparently had during summer holidays.

I also noticed that whenever the English teacher assigned a novel about people living during scarce times, like wars or droughts, my own food tasted better and I found real satisfaction in simple things like potatoes or rice.

History class gave me a similar appreciation for tea and spices, after hearing about how precious and coveted they were in the West. When you have a little more reverence for the experience itself, a pinch of tea or a few ground peppercorns can make you feel rich and fortunate (even if they came from a bin at Bulk Barn). And why shouldn’t they? They still deliver the same pleasure to human taste buds.

Read More
Post image for A Million Nameless Joys Await

I just returned from a 90-minute walk in driving snow. My friend had to pick up something from work near where my PO Box is, and we both like walks in inclement weather, so we made the trek together on foot.

Now that I’m back in the warm, dry interior of my house, I’m enjoying a very cozy, very nostalgic, and very specific combination of sense experiences. Having shed my wet outerwear, and with the heater vents blowing, I’m now warm, dry, and extremely comfortable, but parts of my socks, pant cuffs, and hair are still damp because they’re the only things I’m still wearing that were exposed to the snow.

That particular experience—abundant warmth and dryness with dampness at the fringes, and a well-earned touch of fatigue—is exactly the same feeling I had as a kid every time I came in from playing in the snow. It still summons images of snowball fights, toboggan rides, and the ribbon of exposed grass you make when you roll up a snowman-ball.

If this particular state had a name, it might be Warming Up Having Just Come In From Outside on a Mild Snowy Day. It’s a very specific and familiar joy to those who know it.

It’s making me think of several other familiar yet nameless wintertime experiences, which any Canadian prairie-raised kid would probably know.

Read More
Post image for Cross the Gap Before It Grows

A friend of my Dad’s, a fellow high school teacher, was born just early enough that a particular life goal of his seemed feasible: get to retirement without having to use a computer.

At that time, the early 1990s, I remember people being either computer-literate or computer-averse. You either used these machines freely, or you actively avoided them.

By the information-superhighway years of the late ‘90s, a lot of people were determined to cross that aversion-to-aptitude gap, and finally learn to use the World Wide Web and electronic mail. Being one of that era’s many teenaged “computer people,” I ended up helping dozens of computer-averse adults learn simple operations like word processing, email and web search.

Their body language, at first, was typically very fight-or-flight: back against the chair, hands tucked close, eyes wide. I’m sure some of them really believed the machine could explode if you pressed the wrong button.

But after an antsy first day in the computer chair, a person starts to see what they can do, and also what they can’t do (blow the thing up, delete everything in a keystroke). It was never long before they were emailing, web-surfing, LiveJournaling, and printing recipes, all on their own.

Read More
Desktop version

Raptitude is an independent blog by . Some links on this page may be affiliate links, which means I might earn a commission if you buy certain things I link to. In such cases the cost to the visitor remains the same.