Les Petits Bonheurs: How Often Do You Indulge in Moments of Happiness After 60?

by Karen Margaret Kay

I enjoyed one of those rare mid-August days when the sting of summer heat and
humidity have almost disappeared, and there is a hint of autumn in the air.

the signs of summer drawing to a close, the hydrangeas and perennial grasses
and geraniums in my garden continue to thrive in full bloom. Colour still
abounds. Earlier this morning, I had promised myself that I would be productive
today and catch up on some much-needed indoor chores.

good intentions changed when I glanced outdoors and noticed the quiet in my
backyard, a rare occurrence these days. Recent changes in my neighbourhood have
brought unwelcome noise and traffic to the area, so I rarely enjoy quiet patio
times anymore.

today, I quickly pulled out the patio furniture, opened the sun umbrellas, and
took my morning coffee outdoors. No books or magazines or newspapers
accompanied me today. I simply wanted to breathe in the fresh air and luxuriate
in the quiet and colour of my lovely gardens.

looked at the billowy clouds and felt the warm breeze on my face. I felt a
sense of inexplicable peace and joy.

yet, while I felt gratitude for this moment, I was also saddened because
moments of tranquility  have become so
infrequent now. I thought to myself that I must enjoy this time now and make it
last as long as possible.

Day-to-Day Joys and Simple Pleasures

is much in my life that I could be sad and frustrated about these days. I’m
sure many women in our Sixty and Me community can relate. But instead, I
have learned to snatch moments of happiness where I can find them, something
the French call “les petits bonheurs.”

best translation I could find for this phrase is “the little day-to-day joys,
simple pleasures, and small experiences of happiness.” Doesn’t that just sum it
up beautifully?

You Never Know What Will Happen Tomorrow

once dated an Arab man who shared with me the very tragic story of how he lost
both parents and a sister in a car accident when he was a young teenager. He
recounted how he used to sit on the porch after school each day to wait for the
family to come home from work.

one day, he waited and waited and waited till darkness fell. Later, a relative
came to take him home and informed him of the very tragic news. This man used
to say to me, “You never know what happens tomorrow.”

Choosing Happiness

the past, I have sometimes felt jealous of some of my married friends. With two
incomes, they can afford a much more lavish lifestyle than mine. I divorced in
my 30s and while I am grateful for what I have today, I have always lived on an
extremely restricted budget.

some point, I realized that the comparisons to others were not serving me well
and decided that I could choose to be happy. It took me a while to get
this concept to sink in. Who would have thought that happiness is a choice?

of the ways that I now incorporate happiness into my life is by focusing on les
petit bonheurs and by snatching those moments, even when I ‘should’ be doing
something else.

60-something women, we know the ‘shoulds’ very well – work before play, always be prudent, never
be lazy or idle. And yet, taking time off when I should be working makes those
little playful and relaxing moments even more luxurious!

nap in the middle of the afternoon, a glass of wine while reading that latest
best seller, a walk in the park when I should be doing laundry or checking my
work schedule for the next week.

I stepped outdoors this morning, I noticed a dragonfly on my patio door screen.
My first impulse was to whisk it away, but then I remembered that dragonflies
are a symbol of good luck, so I chose instead to take a photo of it.

was astounded by the beauty of its translucent wings and was grateful for the
good luck it was going to bring into my life!

did a little research on this insect and found that the dragonfly’s agile flight and its
ability to move in all six directions give it a sense of power and poise –
something that comes only with age and maturity. Imagine that!

I investigated a little deeper and
learned that dragonflies are also harbingers of change. I wondered what changes
would come into my life in the near future.

Just Make the Time

I was once again aware that sunshine and perfect summer days don’t last
forever. I was glad that I had made time to enjoy the moment.

believe we need to intentionally store little moments of happiness in both our
minds and in our gratitude journals, to sustain us during the bland or
difficult days that may lie ahead. What will you do today to enjoy les petits

How do you capture little moments of happiness and pleasure? What
things do you do that bring joy to your day-to-day life? Do you believe in ‘les
petits bonheurs’? Please share with our community!

Let\’s Have a Conversation!

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