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Useful And Fantastic: Waste No Pleasures

"Great things in life are mostly free,'' says Val Yule. "Life is meant to be happy, even if life is not easy.''

We learn most of our pleasures. So we may as well learn pleasures that waste nothing and harm nothing.

Pleasure - enjoyment, satisfaction, delight.

A killjoy - does not like others to be happy, and tries to spoil other people's pleasure.

A harm-pusher - promotes or excuses pleasures which harm themselves or others, like binge-drinking, recreational drugs, smoking and self-mutilation. You may be OK but your friend may come to grief.

Pleasures to enjoy with others, or alone, from a wonderful children's picture book, People by Peter Spiers, 1981, about what people all over the world are like and what they do. I wish Pan Macmillan would reprint it.

Nature makes enjoyable the things needed to keep us alive and healthy—food, drink, fresh air, sex, exercise, friendships, relatives, children, learning, good work, adventures, entertainment, and sleep. We learn different ways to satisfy these basic needs. We can learn to enjoy these pleasures in ways that maintain our joy, or ways that can harm us or cost us dearly.

So many things to enjoy waste nothing! If they cost any money, they are worth the money.

Doing nothing, thinking and day-dreaming are great pleasures, often fruitful. They only waste time if other things need to be done.

Walking, cycling, reading, singing, meetings, chatting, crafts and hobbies, playing, inventing, pottering in sheds, reading or writing for blogs or for an international e-magazine or bulletin board!

Window-shopping can cost nothing. 'Shop till you drop' can be wasteful when you collect possessions you just have to get rid of again. Pleasure from continually getting new things is more wasteful than pleasure from enjoying your old things.

Gardening can be as waste-free or as wasteful as you choose to make it.

Some pets hardly cost anything; others are expensive or risky to keep.

Children and babies fulfil a basic need for most of us, both our own or other people's. Enjoy!

Great and deep pleasures are loyal and affectionate intimacy and friendships that last into the shared interdependence of old age. Some people's idea of fun may be a series of affairs, but someone is likely to be hurt, and affairs are more stressful and energy-consuming than magazine gossip admits.

If you enjoy taking risks, there are many socially useful ways to do this. Try to make social reforms, for example, or voluntary bush-fire fighting. A most wasteful risk-taking is gambling for money, for there are more losers than winners. In many games you can gamble for pleasure without spending cash ... even playing solitaire against yourself.

You can gamble your life when the possible goal is worth it.

Car racing and air-shows in this age of Peak Oil are most wasteful spectator sports. They waste fuel and materials, and like other gladiator sports such as boxing and some star football, can risk or waste the health of the combatants, with injuries during play, and bad joints or memories later.

A picnic can be memorable and no-waste. But the countryside remembers your picnic longer than you do, if you go in a 4-wheel-drive 'sports vehicle' breaking down river-banks, rutting forest and bush-land, raising clouds of top-soil dust and leaving your litter behind.

The fun and friendships of a party are well worth the food and drink and organizing, but not if people risk their health, brains, hearing or relationships, with intoxication, excessive strobe lights in darkness and heavy bang-bang drum music. Pleasure can be too wasteful when it makes a lot of rubbish.

Public celebrations, processions and shows can be great fun for thousands, worth the cost. Or they can be wasteful 'circuses' to distract people from protesting about injustices and dangers, or seeking social reforms.

Canny housewives in Scotland were once reckoned the world's most thrifty bodies. They thoroughly enjoyed their saving ways, taking pride. But some did not enjoy it; they made themselves a narrow restricted existence, not a real life. Today consuming has been made into pleasure. But to use without wasting can give even more pleasure.

NO-WASTE is feminine in creating, not destroying. It can help males to discover their feminine side as well as develop their constructive masculine side.

William Wordsworth was a very economical poet, wandering around the Lake District like a lonely cloud and writing poems about daffodils and simple folk. Cost—nothing, rewards—permanent, both for the memories and the poetry.

'The music in my heart I bore
Long after it was heard no more'

If you don't enjoy pleasure, that is a waste too.

© Valerie Yule


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