Lost & Found: The Pleasures of Life

Have you noticed a weird category of life experiences—things that give great pleasure, but because they are not part of your habit pattern, you forget how wonderful they are and so you don’t pursue those pleasures? Then you run across the great experience again, repeat it and resolve not to forget and then forget and so on and so on?

Are we all forgetters of fun?

These memory lapses are not the Alzhammered forgettings of age. As a teen, I would forget how much I loved swimming in a lake at night until some friend would say, let’s go swimming under the moon. In the water, I would remember and resolve to do it again and then I would forget. Forget the lake, forget the moon.

Today what I forget is how much I like jazz, clarinets and saxophones. Also, I keep forgetting how I love gardenia perfume,  peanut butter on fresh bread, Doris Day, a roast chicken stuffed with spaghetti and cheese and dinner parties where the laughter of six people is the sauce of the evening.

It’s a mystery…

So how can a human designed to seek pleasurable rewards, keep forgetting her pleasures? Maybe my reflexes need re-conditioning. I don’t get it and want to take this up with Pavlov, but he’s permanently retired.

Maybe I will just settle for naming the phenomenon—forgetting the unforgettable.

Lord, another paradox to fog up life.

But I’m trying to pull the wonderful forgottens back into my life. For instance, what I saw last weekend at a jazz festival is reminding me about the power of music. I saw that you can settle a sedate 91-year-old into a concert chair, but if he hears something like Pennsylvania 6-500, he will be smiling and tapping and rocking and swaying and having a 1940’s kind of good time.

Ditto for me and Cranky Pants. There’s nothing like the pleasure of Dixieland, swing or ragtime to get the body going and the endorphins doing the double lindy in your brain.

So that’s my resolution. To become again what an old boyfriend once called me…a Pleasure Potato. To that end, I will write, not a Bucket List, but a Buck Up list, things to do that bring joy to the spirit.

One resolution is to turn on jazz every day at 3 PM, The Mind Sludge Hour. Yep, get the pleasure habit locked into the life pattern: Jazz, tea and a peanut butter snack at three. And then there are still chickens to roast and I can bite the ladle and ask friends to dinner.

I don’t live near a lake now, but I still live near a moon. Now I have to remember what else you can do with a moon.

by myyorgda/flickr