The Simple Pleasures Project: What almost dying taught me about really living

To keep myself motivated after I was diagnosed with cancer in 2008, I made a list of all the things that made life so worth fighting for. Nowhere on it were things like a fancy house, fast car, fat bank account or any other of the typical material measures of success our society puts so much emphasis on. Instead, it included things like:

  • #22: Tobogganing
  • #35: Building a fire
  • #77:  Sunsets
  • #79: Skinny-dipping
  • #46: Slow-dancing
  • #40: Gin and tonics
  • #107: My friends
  • #58: A good fart

In short, my list overflowed with simple pleasures, amazing everyday experiences and the awesome people in my life.

Inspired by my list, the Simple Pleasures Project is all about reminding each other that the road to happiness isn’t paved in possessions. It’s about minding our MIBs–the small-but-amazing “Moments In Between” that make life so friggin’ special.

What’s on your list? Check out the video below for more of my story and add your own items to the growing collection in the comments section below.

A Near-Death origin story

what’s on your list?

Life is full of awesome simple pleasures and everyday experiences. Share yours in the comments below and let’s remind each other of life’s amazing non-material sources of joy and fulfillment!

Josh Martin
Chief Adventure Officer (yes, I made that up)
Josh Martin is the founder and chief blogger at Badge of Awesome. He lives in southwestern Ontario, Canada and is the author of "Misadventure Musings: Lessons learned from life's awesome and absurd moments" and "Going on a Bear Hunt: Five things cancer taught me about overcoming obstacles."

13 thoughts on “The Simple Pleasures Project: What almost dying taught me about really living

  1. Gail Evans says:

    1. my two amazing children
    2. long walks through the conservation area by my house
    3. toasted tomato sandwiches
    4. my mom’s couch (perfect for napping!)

  2. Lindsay says:

    Library books, family, the ocean, old friends, new friends, laughing until my belly hurts, a clear, starry night, sunshine, rain, naps

  3. Katie says:

    1. Watching a thunderstorm roll in.
    2. Everything about my little girl, but especially her baby smell.
    3. Reading a book at the beach.
    4. Walks with my husband.
    5. Visits home to see my family and friends.

  4. Janele says:

    1. Watching Clara learn something new
    2. Watching the kids play on the street on a warm afternoon
    3. Hot showers
    4. Cuddling with the dogs after a long day
    5. Beers on a patio

  5. Mindy says:

    1. snuggling with puppies
    2. the small of earth and rain
    3. the sun shining through new spring leaves
    4. seeing somebody discover something for the first time
    5. looking into my niece’s eyes
    6. running

  6. Ashley says:

    1. spending time with my boo!
    2. star gazing
    3. listening to the sound of waves/body of water
    4. learning something new
    5. walking/running with my dog on trails

  7. Trish says:

    Fresh cantelope
    Strawberries
    The smell of rain
    Sleep
    Family time
    The feeling of sand sqishing through your toes
    The sound of ocean waves crashing in
    My dog
    Dogs – all dogs!
    My family

  8. Patricia says:

    I like holding hands with my hubby; reading to the grandchildren; hanging freshly laundered clothes on the line; wishing my 49 year old son, another Happy Birthday; sitting on the front porch; the comfort of my bed at the end of the day; waking up each morning; using nice sheets, wearing fancy lingerie; de-cluttering; dressing up, dressing down and family holidays. Life isn’t tied with a bow, but it’s still a gift.

  9. Dan Martin says:

    The stars in Port Albert
    The magical hours from 4:30 to 9:00 p.m. on Fridays
    The smell of cedar and pine
    Cycling
    Camping
    Hearing a great story
    Jackie Chan kung-fu movies
    Summer
    Cabins and cottages
    Red wine

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