I've already experienced three glorious moments I create every day at no cost in money or time. Actually, they save time.
The picture above shows the neighborhood I wake up to, and I hope you love your neighborhood as much as I love Greenwich Village, but these joys come from my activity, nothing external, and my morning routine needs no equipment, so I start my days with joy and purpose everywhere.
I hope your mornings and days result in such joy, purpose, and meaning. Mine didn't until the past few years. I wish I had learned to create these results earlier.
Turning off my alarm across the room, bed made, within one minute. I've written how my one-minute wake-up, including waking up, getting up, making my bed, and crossing my room to the alarm within 60 seconds begins my day with purpose.
Something about seeing the clock still reading 6:15am after what used to take me 30-45 minutes and now takes me roughly that many seconds feels greatly emotionally rewarding.
Had I not lived the change, I would never have believed it. I thought I was relaxing before. This way improves my life more.
Breakfast. I can't tell you how much I love my breakfast. Plenty of variety despite the same form nearly every day: oats, chia seeds, nuts, fruit, and water.
The fruit changes with seasons--peaches, pears, plums, melons, etc--but is mostly apples from my CSA, which still come in many varieties. Nuts are usually cashews or almonds, but walnuts, Brazil nuts, and other varieties sometimes. I don't know why the combination of nuts and fruits taste so good to me.
In my 46 years, I've eaten eggs, French toast, bacon, sausage, boxed cereals, and so on, but nothing compares with my breakfast today.
Seeing the definition in my abs in the mirror. I get this joy several times a day--first in the morning in the bathroom mirror when I'm wearing only shorts, preparing before my morning calisthenics, second in the mirror after my shower while toweling off, and third after my evening calisthenics (I have a playful rule not to look before the calisthenics to help motivate starting and as a reward after).
Since my body puts on fat fast, even after one meal, even when I was an athlete, I didn't have defined abs. As I saw removing fiber-removed and packaged foods reduced my body fat (while eating more volume of food), I chose to accelerate the dietary change.
I knew I'd like the feeling of defined abs. I didn't realize I'd love it. I don't look like a male model, but the horizontal lines are defined.
A younger me might have criticized appreciating my own body as vain. Having created a fun, rewarding lifestyle with these physical results, now I ask, instead, "Do you think Michelangelo looked at David after carving him?"
Eating just-cooked lunch and dinner. I love my food. My friend's and guests' reviews of my food look positive to me, but don't come close to how much I love my cooking.
However much they like it, I prepare it to my tastes, so I like it more. I had no idea how much I could love food.
My food goal is to identify each fruit, vegetable, and mushrooms' flavors and textures, imagine how they'd interact, and mix them to augment and complement each other. I avoid covering up flavors and textures with sugar or fat.
Living in Manhattan, I used to love eating out. Within a five-minute walk, I can buy cuisines from probably fifty countries or more.
Restaurant food tastes the same as before I taught myself to cook but now I find it disappointing. They know what brings people back--sugar, fat, and salt. They know what saves money--lots of fiber-removed rice and bread with long shelf lives, small amounts of fresh vegetables.
They cover up the best parts with sweetness and fat. I loved it until I discovered fruits and vegetables and learned to cook them.
Finishing evening calisthenics. I've written about how I've done my burpee-based calisthenics twice daily since 2011.
I sometimes say, "I don't enjoy starting them, but I love finishing them." Especially since I'm usually stuffed from dinner--a result of eating foods low in calories and high in fiber--starting burpees is hard.
Finishing them, however, is satisfying. It's hard not to feel satisfied after vigorous effort..
Weekly: picking up CSA vegetables. Not daily, but one of my weekly highlights is picking up vegetables from my CSA, about six blocks from home.
Seeing the raw vegetables and fruit, knowing how the farm I order from grows them more delicious than any other source I know, starts my process of figuring out how they'll taste and mix.
This week the big draw is several cauliflowers, medium-spicy Serrano peppers, turnips with their greens, carrots (supermarket baby carrots in plastic bags taste like water in comparison). I started some in yesterday's stew that was so delicious, I ate about four bowls, making my burpees harder, but I probably needed to eat that much to get enough calories.
Weekly: farmers market visit. Similar to picking up the CSA vegetables, but I haven't already paid for these, so I have to shell out money, which detracts slightly. On the upside, there is incredible variety, changing with seasons.
I never knew the variety farms around New York City could have, nor how delicious these foods could be. I want to miss foods from other places, but I haven't gotten bored with these foods. Forget about bored, I haven't been less than overwhelmed with joy.
Funny how someone who spent decades eating out more than cooking, buying mostly packaged food, finds so much joy in food--or that someone who spent so much time and effort training athletically could find so much joy from simple exercise needing no memberships, money, training, etc.
I wish I had learned to create this simplicity before.