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The Simple Pleasures of Toast and Strawberry Jam

In our fast-paced world of mobile phones, constant access to the Internet, and rushing from here to there with barely a pause for breath, it’s easy to forget some of life’s simpler pleasures.

Sometimes I find myself getting overly stressed…juggling too many balls, facing too many deadlines, and simply not taking enough time to relax.

Toast and Strawberry Jam

Toast and Strawberry Jam

I’ve recently rediscovered one of life’s simpler pleasures–toast with strawberry jam.  Even making the simple meal is an enjoyable experience–the smell of the bread being toasted, the wet, popping sound as you open the jam, and the rasping sound of a knife scraping the jam onto the warm toast.

Eating the toast and jam, of course, is divine–the scent of the jam as you bring the toast to your mouth, the crunch of the toast as you bite into the bread, and the sweet flavor of the jam as you take bite after bite.  It’s such a wonderful feeling, too often missed in our rush to get out the door.

Far too often over the past several years, I’ve found myself wolfing down a Pop-Tart, energy bar, or grabbing some cereal to eat on my way to work.  Many of those times, I don’t remember the actual act of eating…I know that I’ve eaten something because the wrapper is empty and I can still taste the sweet sugars, but the act of eating had occurred automatically.

Life passes by too quickly as it is…if I’m going to eat a meal, I want to enjoy everything about it–the smells, the sounds, the pleasant conversation with someone else who has decided to slow down, at least for a meal.

This simple act of relaxation in the morning has greatly improved many aspects of my life–I’m more relaxed throughout the day, and better able to handle urgent situations as they arise.  Instead of rolling over to hit the snooze button when my alarm goes off, I sometimes find myself waking up thirty minutes or an hour early, looking forward to my simple meal of toast and strawberry jam.  The five minutes it takes to create and eat this simple meal helps me to remain focused and responsive for the rest of the day.

An aside: You may have noticed that I keep using the word “jam” and never “jelly.”  What’s the difference?  Jam uses the whole fruit, while jelly uses fruit juices.  Because the whole fruit is used, I tend to prefer using jam–mostly because of the fuller taste, the chunks of strawberries still in the container, and the feeling of a better connection to nature.

As I talked about in a previous post, relaxation is important for a writer as well.  In order for you to do your most creative work, you need to be able to relax, let your mind open, and the creative energy flow through your fingers and into the keyboard (or through a pen onto paper).

As a writer, think about your experiences…what do you feel, taste, or hear?  How can you integrate those sounds into your story?  Look at the word choices I made above…did the first few paragraphs bring you into the experience?  Look at how I built my sentences…use the lessons to help improve your own writing.  Bring your reader into the experience.

As an experiment, tomorrow (or today, if you’re reading this post early enough), try taking five minutes and making yourself a slice of toast with your favorite jam.  That is, of course, assuming you don’t any allergies to toast or jam…my sincere empathy to anyone unfortunate enough to be in that condition.    In those five minutes, try to focus on one of life’s simpler pleasures, enjoying the experience of eating toast and jam, without a care in the world.

Then, as you probably must, go on to work or school.  However, when life gets too overwhelming, think back to the simple pleasures of toast and strawberry jam.

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2 Responses to “The Simple Pleasures of Toast and Strawberry Jam”

  1. TheBartender says:

    Since I’m always interested in providing balance, here’s the alternative point of view sent to me by a friend (Thanks, G!) — showing that people really do miss the simple pleasures of toast and strawberry jam:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2009/08/10/technology/10morning.html?_r=1&em

    Which group do you fall into–straight for the computer, or a more leisurely morning?

  2. Lisa says:

    My mouth is watering – I love toast with jam (I use butter too)!!!
    A fun post, with good insight. I enjoyed reading it thoroughly. 🙂

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