Joining the “What Makes You Feel Good” Parade

A Short Break from Politics, Social Irritants, and Bad News

Who Said That?

I have recently read two blogs, one a national blog, one done by a respected friend; both hit on similar themes. They asked what made them feel good. The former was on more general topics, the later (in a two part series) talked about things invented in our state of North Carolina.

The more general discussion of this fun area of focus was written by Steven Beschloss, someone well recognized as an historian, but someone who is also an astute observer of life right now. Check out his feel-good list at the link provided at the end of this blog.

The NC focused writing is from the blog Cold Coffee, well written as usual by Jeanne Finan. I agree with her choices fully – except for that Pepsi thing. One is either a Coke person or a Pepsi person. Some things are just not negotiable, you know. Enjoy her two-part posting at the links provided at the end of this blog.

Now, A Somewhat Different Approach

In reading these two blogs, I recognized that I, too, had things that made me happy, but (you will not be surprised) my list came out a bit longer, and once complete, organized differently. I find upon reflection that at least this list of things that make me happy (a list surely not complete, nor locked in stone) naturally fell into three groups.

Group I (presented here today) are what I call the Light Group. Pretty everyday stuff, not especially deep in power or complexity, but welcome in my life. In later sessions over the coming weeks, we will look at the Medium Group – a bit more substantial and perhaps more important, and later still, the Heavy Hitters – meaning of life kind of stuff.

No particular order within categories. I could pretty well move some of these between categories. As noted later, I would love to hear about your favorites, too. Let’s get started.

 Behold, The Light Group

 These are mostly easy, casual pleasures. If we were cats, these would make us purr.

  • A perfect baguette, ideally sourdough, not long out of the oven. Amazing that so simple a thing, consisting of only 3-4 ingredients can be so satisfying. If you wish to add some cheese and wine, who am I to deny you? But alone, the baguette is perfection wrapped in simplicity.
  • A walk in the woods, sometimes best with a dog, sometimes alone. Never fast, never in a crowd. If more than one person is present, hold your tongue until the hike is done. Shut up and listen to nature – she has much to teach us.
  • Time in a hardware store, just for the heck of it. Bonus points if it has the smell of fresh sawdust. This comes in two subsets. One is the small, neighborhood hardware store, where everyone knows everyone. I frequent mine so often that I know what shelf contains a hard-to-find item that sometimes stumps the staff. The other subset is the big box hardware store. Not nearly as nostalgic as the smaller place, but if you are into tools, hardware, and associated stuff, it feels like you might have died and gone to heaven. If you drop me off at one of these, use a calendar to schedule the pickup, not a watch.
    Still More to Enjoy
  • A world-class cheese platter, with the right bread and fruit. The baguette mentioned earlier got me thinking about this one. Our years in France made me somewhere between a cheese gourmand and a cheese addict. The variety and sensory rewards of great cheese is sublime. I will put more time and money into a post dinner cheese course than I would for the main course. This does not amuse my bride, but she gets it.
  • Being up early enough to wait for the sun to catch up with you. This is by far my favorite time of day. If the sun is already up when I wake up, I feel cheated. I take great pleasure in sitting quietly in the dark, outside if warm enough, with a cup of coffee, contemplating life and the world as the sun begins to do its thing.
  • Serious red wine that has been waiting years for you to show up. OK, I admit that there is a lot of food in this list. I think that is perfectly fine. I have said in other times that I have had tasty wine at $2/bottle and fine wine at a couple of hundred dollars a bottle and both were what I wanted at the time. But a truly fine red wine, which to me most often means a Bordeaux, aged for a decade or more, is a transformative experience unlike any other culinary experience I know. The terrific ones stay in your memory, almost on your palate, for years.
  • Being in a baseball park a good thirty minutes before the game. Most fans have not arrived yet, just a few scattered about. On the field, a host of pregame rituals by players, grounds keepers, and others take place. Usually the pace is slow, the actions deliberate. There is an air of ritual to this time that I do not feel in other sports. I enjoy this time every bit as much as the game still to come. Also, a beer, hot dog, and cracker jacks helps things along.
What About You?

That is my short list of the easy and casual ones. What about you? Share with us what makes you feel as though, at least for a moment, all is right with the world.

See you next week on other, more worldly matters. We will return to the Things That Make You Feel Good, Parts II and III list in due course.

The Aforementioned Blogs

By all means, check them out. Good reading awaits you.



       Bill Clontz

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3 replies to Joining the “What Makes You Feel Good” Parade

  1. This is delightful! I especially appreciate the description of getting up before the sun. Thank you for this happy feeling.

  2. Bill, I appreciate your shared writings, as I do Jeanne’s. Although both blogs stimulate my thoughts, I seldom have an urge to respond. Today’s “what makes you feel good” topic brought me numerous “feel good” thoughts. In appreciation of the pleasant stimulation, I want to respond with items in my Group I or Light Group:

    feeling a breeze on my skin

    getting wet in the rain – from a gentle drizzle to a heavy downpour

    looking eastward watching predawn transition to daylight

    a beautiful piece of wood

    observing shifting patterns made by sunlight filtering through swaying leaves and branches

    small, unobtrusive twinkling lights

    bubbling sound of flowing water in creeks, brooks, streams, etc.

    a perfectly made chocolate milk shake

    noticing various tints and shades of greens

    touching, coordinating, and contrasting fabrics

    citrus scents

    unexpectedly hearing a piece of favorite music from my past

    aroma of favorite cooking – especially garlic and shallots sautéing in olive oil or sour cream cinnamon bundt cake baking

    seeing artwork that emotionally moves me

    freshly washed hair

    hearing bird sounds

    my annual first taste of sweet summertime watermelon

    splashing barefooted in freshly made rain puddles.

    watching snow fall

    completing my yoga, stretching, balance, and meditation routine

    cat stories

    reading a page-turner, intriguing, but not overly gruesome mystery

    having my feet and scalp massaged

    annually rewatching my favorite movies

    nonthreatening thunderstorms


    independent bookstores

    remembering pleasant dreams, especially those with my flying and seeing colors

    houseplants with varying shapes and textures

    seeing holiday and seasonal decorations

    number and logic games

    sending and receiving greeting cards

    being chauffeured on car rides through forests

    • A fine list, indeed. Nice to reflect on how many things bring us such responses, isn’t it? Thank you for sharing.

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