One boomer’s list of Life’s Greatest Pleasure

BoomerCafé’s readers really liked the list we posted recently from Alan J. Paul of Hawthorne, New Jersey. It was a list of what he called the best songs of our generation. This time, he has given us a new list to which baby boomers might also relate: Life’s Greatest Pleasures. How many of Alan’s are yours too?

Writer and editor Alan Paul.

Writer and editor Alan Paul.

In my youth I began fashioning a list of Life’s Greatest Pleasures, as my not-yet-fully-formed mind’s eye viewed them. For some reason, as I recall, I had only three items on the list, but they were, in descending order of inducing pleasure:

  1. I never actually named this item, saying only that it was so obvious that mentioning it seemed redundant; I’m pretty sure though that my randy teenaged mind’s eye was visualizing S-E-X.;
  2. Running with a football;
  3. Writing a perfect sentence. (What is a perfect sentence? Simply one that could not have been improved upon by any other person, living or dead.)
Daughter Carolyn as a toddler.

Daughter Carolyn as a toddler.

I’ve added to my list of Life’s Greatest Pleasures over the years. It now includes items like:

  1. Hearing your child laugh for the first time;
  2. Lying next to someone you love (there’s that s-e-x thing again);
  3. Elmer T. Lee bourbon on ice;
  4. Pizza (almost any kind);
  5. James Taylor, live at Bethel Woods;
  6. Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young;
  7. Grilled lobster;
  8. A New York Strip Steak, medium-rare;
  9. Driving a fast car, fast;
  10. Porsche 911s;
  11. A great book, movie or play;
  12. Football;
  13. Baseball;
  14. Basketball;
  15. An old wooden lacrosse stick with catgut webbing;
  16. A very cold Blue Moon with an orange wedge;
  17. A very hot Folger’s Black Silk coffee with cream, sipped slowly while reading the morning newspaper;
  18. Saturday mornings at the kitchen table with my wife, Jan;
  19. Christmas;
  20. Alistair Sim in A Christmas Carol;
  21. alan_woodstockSaturday nights with my wife, Jan;
  22. My dog Sam curling up in my lap;
  23. My daughter Carolyn’s smile;
  24. The ocean;
  25. Woodstock, NY;
  26. A sweet, crisp seedless white grape;
  27. Watermelon on a perfect summer day;
  28. Fireflies on a perfect summer night;
  29. Having watched Derek Jeter play baseball and Jim Brown play football;
  30. Eggs over-easy, crisp bacon and rye toast, still warm and firm, and deftly spread with unsalted butter;
  31. Mom’s homemade manicotti;
  32. Cargo shorts;
  33. Grandma’s meatballs;
  34. The gym, most days anyway;
  35. The smell of fresh-cut grass;
  36. Retirement.
James Taylor live at Bethel Woods.

James Taylor live at Bethel Woods.

I could go on and on, but you get the picture. One of the things that this boomer’s advancing age has taught me is that one must take the time, especially as we get older, to do as many of the things that give us pleasure, as often as we can possibly do them. If you really think about it, and make a list, I can practically guarantee that the vast majority of things on your own, personal list of Life’s Greatest Pleasures, will be of the simple variety, easily and inexpensively enjoyed.

Daughter Carolyn ... all grown up.

Daughter Carolyn … all grown up.

But don’t take my word for it. Instead, listen to the Founding Fathers of these United States who, in their infinite wisdom, guaranteed each and every one of us the right to “the pursuit of happiness” in none other than the Declaration of Independence itself. In other words, we are obliged to seek happiness whenever and wherever we can find it, as long as our own happiness does not cause some other person unhappiness.

So, there it is. Go get it; and in doing so, bring some back for the people you love most. Happiness is a choice; if you fail to choose it, you can blame no one but yourself.


  1. ..and I think the list becomes more important as we grow older.
    would add
    37 Riding a Bike
    38 Exploring

  2. nice list……….I would add….
    ……….sitting on the beach barefoot, watching the sunset over the pacific ocean
    ……….hiking the grand canyon
    ……….a loving body massage
    ……….my own hot tub
    ……….watching my flowers grow & bloom
    ……….legal herb
    ……….enough money to be comfortable
    thank you for your positive article………it has inspired me this day

  3. I so agree that we all need to take time to notice and appreciate all the simple things that make up a happy and fulfilled life. This is one of the best ways to slow time down and really LIVE. Thanks for the reminder!

  4. There’s many things on my list, and although I try to do as many of those things as I can, I just wish I had a partner to share them with!

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