“That man is rich whose pleasures are the cheapest.” – Henry David Thoreau
Some of the greatest pleasures in life are simple. There is nothing that brings me more peace than being in beautiful locations and enjoying the scenery. These simple pleasures bring much joy and relaxation to my life, and a reminder that the world is gorgeous, despite all the negativity spewed daily. Stop reading the negativity on Facebook or news feeds and enjoy your surroundings. Turn it off and get outside. Some of the most beautiful scenery is right in our own backyard.
The attached picture was taken on a windless summer evening in Yankeetown, Florida. The sun was setting through some clouds creating a perfect mixture of comfort and serenity. The water was calm and smooth. It was low tide thus exposing portions of the crab traps. Small baitfish were jumping creating tiny ripples. You could hear the engines of the fishing boats making their way back through the channel. The distant islands provoked my curiosity and adventurous side, demanding exploration. I haven’t been that relaxed in a long, long time.
Just a relaxing, tranquil experience; a reminder that life’s greatest pleasures are truly simple. We get so sidetracked by the pressures of life that we forget to enjoy the simple pleasures life provides us. I remembered that I enjoyed being on the water. I remembered that I enjoy going fishing. I love throwing a cast net and catching baitfish. I truly missed all these activities. This moment on the water reminded me of those simple pleasures that I grew up doing…and dearly miss.
Somewhere along my journey, I was too caught up being a police officer. The high-speed environment filled with large quantities of negativity, horrific crime scenes, and unimaginable stress. I enjoyed it. I loved it. Then I realized it was killing me. In recent years, I realized I was miserable. I learned that just because you can handle a tremendous amount of stress, doesn’t mean you should or have to. Life is too short. Why deal with all that stress if you don’t have to deal with it, especially if it is killing you and making you miserable. I missed the simple pleasures of living a healthy life full of those simple pleasures.
Going to that scenic location reminded me to enjoy those moments more. That is living. I’ve done my time in hell; I have nothing to prove to anyone. I want more moments like that in what’s left of my life. I want to put all those horrific images in my brain to rest and replace them with ones centered around peace and happiness. We, police officers, see far too much in our careers, granted some more than others. The average citizen has no idea what a police officer sees and processes on a daily basis.
To my fellow officers, please take the time to enjoy life’s simple pleasures. When you are off duty, you need to turn off being a cop. Don’t live and breath the profession 24/7 or you will not survive. Spend time with your loved ones. Spend time with yourself enjoying moments like the one I’m sharing with you. Enjoy what little time off you get these days. That’s how life is meant to be lived. Work to live, not live to work. Your service is admirable. However, service to you and your family is what is most important.