Having a lot doesn’t have to mean that you’ve surrounded yourself with the most expensive things. You don’t need the latest sleek sports car parked in your garage. You don’t need an entourage of fancy clothes to choose from. And you certainly don’t need to be crested by high-rise suites in every cosmopolitan city that you visit.
There’s simply a gentle wisdom in learning to appreciate most of the things we take for granted in life.
Take, for example, the basic fact that you’re able to read these words using a technology only invented a few decades ago. Or the fact that the brilliant flickering of each sentence is transmitted to your brain in less than a few nanoseconds. Or even that the words strike you with clarity and comprehension without any linguistic effort on your behalf whatsoever.
Living as westerners, we’ve been blessed with so many graces—we move so quickly in between each one of them—that we hardly notice the ever-unfolding blossom of immediate sensorial experience.
That’s why I wanted to mention some of the simple things that make me feel like royalty.
First, Let's Slow Down
Pace yourself for a moment. You’ve been working too hard lately. Let this be a momentary grotto to remind you to reflect on where you’ve come from—where you’re at.
Inhale deeply. Let your eyes go soft. Exhale slowly.
Notice what you hear around you. Have you ever heard such a beautiful opera as this?
Focus on all the noises present. Let them flood in like a stampede of horses, and capture them gently like the flutter of a butterfly.
Don’t discriminate. Try to become aware of each and every sound present in this moment. How do they decorate the faculty of your aural perception? How do they make up the composition of this larger whole to animate your experience?
That’s it—not so difficult. Is as if these phantasmal noises have only just appeared, if not for the first time. Though, the truth of the matter is that they’ve been here all along.
Maybe you already knew this. Maybe you’ve often reached quiet repose in reflecting on the constellations of sound surrounding the glowing sphere of your awareness. But either way, there’s always a benefit in being reminded to slow down.
Now that you’re in the state of mind where you can be appreciative of such a simpler thing as sound, we can delight in appreciation of some of the finer aspects of sensorial experience.
These are everyday encounters, mostly within reach, and of a particular kind of qualitative and convenient nearness to sources of civilization.
These three things make me feel whole, sumptuous and splendid, no matter where I encounter them. They’re often the highlight of my days. They’re the crown of perception for that with simpler tastes.
1. A Hot Shower
I have always loved a piping hot shower. I don’t care what they say about it drying out dermal layers, or even that it raises the blood pressure against the cardiovascular walls—a hot shower signifies good living for me.
I love the way the cloak of piquant water drapes across my shoulders, the way it cascades down my skin with warming reprieve.
I love the steam that swelters against the bathroom walls. I never turn on the ventilation fan. If the walls aren’t sweating impurities from the porous pigments slathered upon them, it’s just not hot enough.
I love the sound of rushing water bubbling out from the spigot as I close my eyes and think about my labors—the consequential business of my mischief during the day. The fluid erosion in the hot water works away my stressors as it crashes against the nape of my neck.
Though I feel immensely privileged by the ability to revel with a warm shower most anywhere I go. I try to stay reminded that some people may never have such disposable access to water. They may never undergo the initiatory baptismal rite of showering.
For these very reasons, the act of standing beneath surging stream of heated water is uniquely one that makes me feel like royalty.
2. A Warm Meal Out
The second aspect of simplistic royalty: going out to eat. No matter where I’ve been, having someone cook and prepare a meal for me just feels shamelessly regal.
Don’t get me wrong, I love cooking. The whole aspect of combining various textures and flavors to create a temporary masterpiece excites me to no end. I’d probably be happy preparing my own meals for weeks straight if I didn’t have the option to sit down for the occasional night out.
But something about putting in a request from a curated list of handmade foods, that’s just being spoiled with the power of choice.
Especially because the restaurant industry has reached such widespread growth, there’s eateries constantly waiting to be perused and bought from. If you’re willing to travel far enough, there’s even likely a chef with plenty of expertise in whipping up your latest craving.
But even then, think of the privilege in causing a meal to appear by using words alone—utter administrative engineering at play. Though the server is obviously working for a tip, chances are your table will be spotless, your drink will be continually topped off, and you’ll be checked on to ensure everything is up to your standards.
I’m thoroughly humbled by the fact that this possibility is open to me most everywhere I go.
The dining experience is usually complete with lively music of some sort filling the air, casual conversations between relationships of all types, and to boot, it’s almost unheard of that you’ll have to clean up after yourself. It doesn’t get much more chic than that.
3. A Comfortable Bed
And last, but certainly not least, that cushiony rectangle we call a bed is a third source for elegance. The one place where we spent a third of our lives, getting a good night’s rest in a comfortable bed is imperative for apprehending the following day full of energy.
Scrunch your toes, pull the covers up to your chin, and flip the pillow to the colder side. There’s just no telling how rewarding a comfortable bed feels at the end of the day.
No matter where I’ve been, whether I’ve thrown a comfortable mattress in the back of a vehicle, or laid down for the night in a borrowed bed, being toasty warm while I fall asleep is sheer satisfaction. My body eases down and I close my eyes in relief. Throw a plush comforter on top of my body and it’s all over, I’ll be out to sleep in minutes.
I try to remember that not everyone is privileged enough to sleep in a pleasantly warm bed every night. Whether it’s made of memory foam or inner springs, I’m grateful that the mattress supports me from having to sleep on the ground.
With each sound night sleep, I’m able to connect with the visual depths of my dreaming mind. As my conscious mind is set aside, I’m led by my muse through flights of varicolored splendor, and the archetypal stories which underlie and shape my personality.
Some days, especially when it gets very cold, I’m happy to have a bed to retreat back to at the end of the evening. This is a liberty that should only be afforded to the monarchs.
Finding Joy in the Simple Things
So what am I trying to say with this little exposition?
I may not have been born with wealthy parents, and I certainly don’t have a singing voice that is worth promoting.
I’ll probably never hit the lottery, and making my riches from some majorly profitable business idea is probably a long-shot.
But there’s truth in appreciating the simple things. There’s joy in a steamy shower, enjoying a meal out, or sprawling in a snuggly bed.
In every simple thing there’s cause for rejoice, a lesson to be learned.
The majority of our most appreciable daily encounters come in the form of warmth—a warm shower, a warm meal, a warm bed. Even a warm hug can be like the gift of a thousand rubies, if you’re in the right state of mind. A newborn child, who knows nothing else in the world, understands the love of the mother through warmth.
These three things make me feel royal in my perception because they warm me, restore me, and give me a semblance of power.
The shower is the royal mantle, because it adorns my body in resplendence. The meal out is the scepter, because I command forth my decisions through it. The bed is my throne, because it is that which I rest upon to do my bidding.
Surely, I’m like a duke of the ordinary, a sovereign prince of the simple life. But this decree is not mine alone, because it’s easily and assuredly accessible to everyone.