A Final Thought: Ten Things I Love


By Mitch Allen

Priorities can change. A few weeks ago when we were all asked to use paper straws, people lost their minds at the magnitude of the sacrifice. Now we’re being asked to stay home, shutter our businesses, forgo paychecks, lay off our cherished employees, avoid our loved ones, and decimate the economy.

And we’re doing it.

Say what you will about the many horrific examples of humanity’s inhumanity, when the rubber meets the road our general tendency is to do the right thing. The long curve of our species’ existence is, I believe, toward goodness.

* * * *

Last week I responded to the Facebook challenge to list “10 Things Everyone Likes But You Don’t.” I created that list (which included ketchup and scented candles) then my Pollyanna wife challenged me to post 10 things I love rather than hate, stipulating that I could not simply list my loved ones and my favorite foods.

I accepted her challenge.

To be honest, in my darkest hours there are times when I think we’re all floating on a rock in space waiting for the asteroid strike and it’s all a big waste of time. But doing this exercise reminded me of so many things I love about being alive, and what an honor it is to be able to hang out for a while longer. Ten things I love:

  1. I love my old leather boots. They fit so well it’s like I don’t have them on. They have dust on them from hiking the Cotswold Way and from digging my father’s grave.
  2. I love a brief, well-crafted sentence that punches you in the gut or knocks you to your knees.
  3. I love long, exhausting, physical work and the joy of having a beer afterward while looking at what you have done.
  4. I love Command Z—the undo button. I wish there was one for real life.
  5. I love researching my ancestors and imagining what kind of lives they lived and what they thought about.
  6. I love an uncompromising chef.
  7. I love walks so long that when I turn around I wonder if I can make it home, and I love getting home from such walks.
  8. I love the feel of freshly risen dough.
  9. I love that my wife and I have given each other permission to be ourselves. It took a while, but we got there.
  10. I love that my children and grandchildren are healthy.
  11. I love rusty barbed wire and old fence posts, mossy rock walls and the round ball of a woman’s bare shoulder, a tall, straight pine and a crawfish boil, a close football game when nobody messes up, quitting your job and starting a business then being surrounded by amazing people who just showed up at the door, a sharp pocket knife and a good ink pen, a perfect over-medium egg, old ladies at the tiki bar who tell you that they see the way you treat your wife and that you must really love her, other people’s kittens, hickory smoke, that third bourbon, the smell of newsprint, Jefferson Airplane’s live performance of White Rabbit at Woodstock, going with your gut and being right, the month of June, how every time I do something stupid the whole universe bends to fix it for me, English murder mysteries, my late brother’s wine collection even though it has all gone bad, an old clock that keeps good time, the fact that I quit smoking, the tug of a fish on my line, no longer hating Mondays, the childhood memory of building go-carts out of scrap lumber and roller skates, getting warm after being terribly cold, gravesites with clever epitaphs, our family’s lake in Troup County, Georgia, where my great-grandfather was murdered and where we spread my brother’s ashes, the tug of a kite string, losing myself in a long kiss with my wife, playing card games with my children, a crisp linen napkin, an amuse-bouche, yelling “Freebird” at inappropriate times, my inscribed edition of Robert Penn Warren’s All The King’s Men, fossils, metal sculptures, holding the tripod for photographer Benjamin Margalit, going out with my dining club “The Odd Couple” (there are three of us), the fact that the best man at my wedding sends me new songs he’s working on, a piece of the Berlin Wall I chipped out myself with a hammer and chisel in 1981, finding a scallop on the ocean floor, plantation shutters, outdoor kitchens, Northeast Ohio clambakes, a houseplant that doesn’t die, well-stacked firewood, and having a wise, responsible business partner who pays the bills and gives you all the time you need to make lists.


For more musings, find Mitch on Facebook.

Categories: Smart Living