What Does Enjoyment Look Like?
As I write my latest book, “The Quest,” I have separated our chronological life into four parts. I call the third chapter of life (~age 50 to 75) the “Enjoyment” stage. The designation is more than a pipe dream—it is a reliable foundation that informs essential decisions.
To illustrate, several people have mentioned that I consider running for mayor here in Dunedin. The suggestion appeals to my ego—I have the leadership experience for the job—but I know this stage of my life is ideally served by things I enjoy. Therefore, the decision is a no-brainer.
It would be a huge step back into the second chapter of my life. Back to the world of politics and conflict. Back to the world of constant social interaction and a world focused on doing rather than being. It would probably be worse than dealing with church politics. Agh. No. While it may bring joy and fulfillment for someone else, it does not fit into the enjoyment chapter of my life.
Having made that decision, I then asked myself the question, what brings me enjoyment at this time of my life?
This self-examination proved to be…enjoyable. Here are a few of the many things I enjoy at present. This list is counter-cultural, and at times I fight feelings of guilt—most people my age are still in the peak of their career and are still years away from this stage—but for some reason, it is my lot in life. So I try my best to stifle the guilt with gratefulness.
—Waking each morning nestled in the arms of my muse and companion.
—Cooking a new recipe at home more than going out to eat.
—Creating art with watercolors. I can paint for eight hours, and it seems like five minutes.
—Writing. I’m not sure why it brings me so much enjoyment. A few days ago, I came to a startling realization. If I could have chosen my own path, I would have accepted the academic scholarship I was awarded at St. John’s College in Annapolis. They specialize in a curriculum rooted in the Great Books.
—Reading. I read every day of my life. It is an addiction. And sheer pleasure. Non-fiction for thirty minutes or so in the morning, and fiction for a while after going to bed. But for some reason, I still fight guilt when during the day, I relax in my favorite chair and read.
—Coffee and Cocktail hour. The hour or so each morning upon waking and each afternoon around 4 pm are sacred to Gina and me. For nearly ten years, we have talked endlessly about life, love, and other mysteries, while savoring the phenomenology of delectable beverages. We never run out of topics.
—The color, bouquet, taste, and feel of a great wine.
—Thinking. Setting aside time to ruminate is a luxury not tolerated or understood during the first two chapters of life.
—Walking. Seaside or Sky Edge. Nature appeals to every sensory part of me.
—Sex. More now than at any time in my life.
—Freedom. From the tyranny of the urgent, from alarm clocks, from calendars, from bosses, from rules, and from the chains of religion, education, culture, and family.
—Friends. Sitting around the fire pit with a glass of wine talking about non-duality, the existence of the soul, philosophy, psychedelics, and a plethora of other subjects.
—Curiosity. I know, I know, it supposedly killed the cat, but my dear friend, may I remind you, satisfaction brought it back. I do my best to try or learn one new thing every day.
And there are many others. I close with a quote from the movie “Auntie Mame” that my youngest daughter taught me many years ago.
“Life is a banquet, and most poor suckers are starving to death!”
What does enjoyment look like to you?