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Looking back over my life, I had very complicated pleasures. But as a stroke survivor, I found that my preferences transformed into simple ones. Here are ten of them, all of which I didn’t do before my stroke:

Waking up to greet the day 

Waking up every day is my top simple pleasure. What do I do to achieve that goal? Well, there are no guarantees in life, but switching over to the vegan diet a year ago gave me so many chances to stay healthy. In pretending about the pandemic, I maintain that eating high Vitamin C oranges somehow kept me immune from the coronavirus. That theory is not on the proven list, but consuming Vitamin C is great for preventing or lessen the severity of so many other diseases anyway. 

Adding the perfect amount of water to my oatmeal

I actually celebrate with an audible “Yes!” multiple times when my oatmeal comes out of the microwave perfectly. Of course, nobody is there to hear it, but I find that action reassuring. It’s a game I play with myself, guessing which amount of water is suitable to add to the instant variety. Somebody who lives with one or more people doesn’t get it, but get it. I am the only one I have to please. 

Watching the washer wash

I like the sound of the washer wash clothes. I like the “Spin” cycle the best. Oftentimes, I find myself watching the washer wash the clothes–my clothes, mesmerized. The washer sound is relaxing. 

Balancing my checkbook

I used to balance my checkbook as drudgery, something I had to do to keep my sanity in “check,” often getting frustrated when I reversed numbers or got the period in the wrong place. Now, I welcome it every month because I remembered my math functions. And I like the way my handwriting improved in 13 years post-stroke, keeping the figures inside the lines.

Monitoring the vegan cooking

I was always a participant, from jumping rope as a youngster, to playing my songs as a teen in the talent show, to throwing events as an adult. Now, cooking-wise, I’m still a participant. My caregiver who prepares all my meals brings the pot over to me to check on the consistency or taste or color. I’d rather cook myself, but have got the handle on do’s and dont’s. This method is the next best thing.

Observing the houses surrounded  by nature

Normally, in those normal times before the stroke, I went around the block and that was it, not noticing the fine points. Now, my friend and I find something new every time we go, like a new fence, plants and trees in bloom, or a missing shingle on the roof. That’s the game we play, because remembering what I  found a few days ago keeps my memory sharp. 

Making a schedule

Every time my caregiver comes which are on weekdays, I present her with a to-do list of things that should be done. I can move the entries if she doesn’t have time to finish, and she likes to check off completed tasks. Most importantly, this system, too, helps me remember the current and future tasks.

Pronouncing words until I say them perfectly

I have trouble pronouncing some words, or most words my critics would say. Sometimes, if I say it over and over in a day, that will be enough for future times. Sometimes, like with the “scr” words, as in prescription and subscription, having practiced for 8 years, I still get tripped up. I used to be a public speaker so it’s difficult to admit I can’t do that anymore, but just saying words correctly is the next best thing in order to communicate effectively. When somebody says, “I can’t understand you,” my heart just breaks.

Getting a coffee package from Amazon 

Not that trillionaire Jeff Bezos needs free advertising, but I look forward to this Amazon Seattle coffee coming because it wakes me up with a jolt in the morning. A jolt equals instant awareness of my surroundings so that I have an uninterrupted and clutter-free path when I’m going to walk around. In a sense, priceless.

Counting the birds that fly by in 10 minutes

Birds, predominantly crows, fly by in groups. I never see one crow without another one to follow. Especially now that it’s mating season, the crows are frequent. 

I’ll most likely have a new list, like watching Brain Exchange, the group of brain-injured people that Sara Riggs and I founded, grow in membership, or rereading the high-drama books by Nelson DeMille, or watching the Ninja blender grind the very last bit. Tomorrow, or maybe next week, who knows!
Joyce Hoffman

Joyce Hoffman

Joyce Hoffman is one of the world's top 10 stroke bloggers according to the Medical News Today. You can find the original post and other blogs Joyce wrote in Tales of a Stroke Survivor. (https://talesofastrokesurvivor.blog)
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