Life’s simple pleasures.

Family and friends never believe me when I state that I enjoy cleaning up after a dinner party.

“Right, sure you do,” my cousin scoffed tonight.

But I do. It’s a truth. It’s honest. Don’t doubt me.

Clearing the messy table. Doing the dishes. Putting away the lovely treasures that dress up a table.

I love it.

Everyone offers to help and I mean it when I say no. I love listening to others enjoy themselves, engaging in lively conversation around the dinner table.

Chatter, laughter and deep conversation. Introducing colorful personalities to each other and turning strangers into friends.

This is life at its best.

Inevitably, they do help and their efforts are appreciated. But I do love the clean up and here is why.

As I pack up the leftovers, wash random items and fill the dishwasher, I reflect upon the evening.

I allow the gratitude to fill my heart. I count my blessings and cherish the memories that were made.

I smile often, recalling conversations and special moments.

I think back to a time when I was obsessed with having everything just so – perfection. I wouldn’t allow anything but.

Yet how much fun did I have? I was so preoccupied with appearances and ambience that I forgot to enjoy myself.

Today, I tell everyone to leave their white gloves home – the dust may be plentiful.

Today, I no longer dress to impress – my activewear seems to work just fine.

And today, my gatherings are more pleasurable – my relationships are deeper and the time spent together more meaningful.

My silver may not have been polished. My house may not have been immaculately cleaned. And I may have made a faux pas or two. Who is counting?!

But the occasion is to be remembered.

Every dinner deserves an elegant table setting. Every guest deserves to be treated royally. And every moment deserves to be celebrated.

As I wrapped up this work week with family and friends, I marveled in the joy of connection. I thanked the good Lord for bringing such special people into my life – not only those who were here with me tonight, but each person who holds a special place in my heart.

Those still with us – and those who have passed. Family we choose to call friends and friends we choose to call family. Those I speak to often – and those who I don’t, but long to.

The napkin holders – my late uncle was with us. The decorative plate – my grandmother was here. Gifts from friends – you were with us this evening, though you were not physically present.

What I love even more than the clean up is the quiet time that follows – when I sit late at night with a beverage of choice, fur-baby on my lap and allow the exhaustion to set in.

I’m overcome with a feeling of peace, comfort and tranquility. I’m thankful, grateful and happy.

I feel warm and fuzzy. Maybe it’s an only child thing. Maybe it’s an introverted extrovert thing. Maybe it’s just me.

But …

This is what life is about. These are life’s simple pleasures.

Author: E.M. Murphy

A freelance writer, coach, eternal seeker and Renaissance soul who aims to open minds and hearts. Armed with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and a NASM Certified Behavior Change Specialist, humanity and humor is at the heart of my writing, reminding us that the key to success will always start with a genuine concern for others while making sure to be true to our authentic selves.

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