The Nine Delights of Life

In her monthly column, Jacinta trials new self-care rituals and other forms of bettering yourself, and reports back to us with her experiences. Her goal is to make free forms of self-care that have lasting positive effects more well known and approachable to students and readers alike. 

The inspiration for this self-care column rests solely on the shoulder of a lifestyle philosophy I saw posted on Twitter about two years ago. Simply coined the Nine Delights, the goal is to experience at least three of the ‘delights’ each day. And that’s really it. The Delights that grace the list are Walking Around, Fellowship, Deliciousness, Transcendence, Goofing, Amelioration, Coitus, Enthrallment, and the ‘Wildcard’. Some of these are easier to interpret than others, but let’s break them all down anyway.  

Firstly, Walking Around, which is pretty self-explanatory. There are literally hundreds of studies that will tell you how integral even fifteen minutes of walking in nature is for your mental and physical health. Fellowship is pretty easy to interpret as well – spend time with your nearest and dearest – as is Deliciousness (eat good food!). Next we have Transcendence, which in this case means the feeling of reaching a higher level of consciousness. Goofing encourages you to let your inner child take over and get silly. Amelioration is the practice of bettering or improving a skill. Coitus is just good ol’ fashioned fucking. Enthrallment is when you enter the ‘zone’ and become hyper engaged with something fulfilling or entertaining. And lastly, we have the Wildcard, which is reserved for any other delight you experience that doesn’t really fit into any of the other categories.  

When I first came across this philosophy, I immediately wanted to try it because it focuses on creating pleasure, connection or progress through free or cheap means, and encourages time spent in the real world rather than online. As far as self-care practices go, this is a fairly easy one to integrate into your life, since you’re probably already experiencing most of the delights pretty often anyway. But I think the awareness of the good you are doing for yourself and the satisfaction that comes with accomplishing them is what makes practicing the Nine Delights so beneficial. So, let’s take a dive into my experiences with all nine delights.  

Walking around is something that I’ve found is either incredibly easy to do, or incredibly hard. Sometimes the idea of putting on my shoes and throwing myself out into the world doesn’t sound so fun. And if I don’t have my headphones with me, then forget it. But it’s a habit that I have been pushing myself to build. So, I challenged myself to try new walking trails, like local nature walks, beaches (if I had time to suffer the drive) and exploring my surrounding suburbs. Changing up the scenery definitely made walking more enjoyable, and if I was in a new place, I found that I walked longer too. Sometimes I would call a family member, listen to music or a podcast, and other times I just observed the people around me. One of the best things I saw on one of these walks was an older man, with a big smile on his face, swinging himself back and forth on the swing set at the park near my house. It was something so simple, but it ignited a little happy spark in my chest.  

Never underestimate the power of friendship. The last few months have been full of hard days, instantaneously fixed by smiles on the faces of my closest friends and laughter filled conversations. Most notably, seeing Barbie with three friends; unpacking the film in the empty, dank basement of the movie theatre and reminiscing about our shared experiences with girlhood. Or watching the iconic Australia v. France FIFA game a couple of weeks ago with some mates, noshing on homemade pizzas I had made (when I love people, I cook for them), and our ecstatic cries at the TV when the Matilda’s won. Some other honorable mentions include walking to Paddington with my BFF at 9pm in our pyjamas to get ice cream, and finding an unexpected kindred spirit in my tattoo artist, who I chatted excitedly with about drawing, reading and our shared love of Fantastic Mr. Fox.  

What can I say about deliciousness? I made pumpkin soup, scones with fresh cream and jam, and spinach gnocchi with pesto and parmesan. I bought passion fruit mochi, red liquorice, pistachio and raspberry almond croissants and fresh juice.  

Transcendence is a funny one. What exactly does it mean to transcend? From my experience, it’s one of those things that’s hard to understand until it happens. And happen it did, and often in the most unexpected way. I felt I transcended when I went to work one day, accidentally loopy from all the pain meds I had taken to alleviate my cramps, and spent the entire eight-hour shift completely blissed out and totally unfazed when I had to handle a two-hour rush all by myself. But I also transcended on a much clearer mental plane when a friend and I left a lecture having a deep dive discussion about the topic, getting animated and passionate, and broadening each other’s understanding. Even meditating to occult rock and sitting in my sunny courtyard made me feel like I was reaching a deeper level of consciousness.  

I goofed around hard in honour of the fifth delight, which expressed itself through jumping on a swing for the first time in years (thanks for the inspiration, old man!) and inviting various friends to dinner where we giggled and joked around like we were schoolgirls again, or maybe just drunken idiots. I think I have a lot more to learn about letting my silly side take over and giving myself an opportunity to stop taking things so damn seriously all the time. As a full time student with two jobs, there is an expectation to be a serious adult all the time, but it just isn’t sustainable. If I were a hobbit, I would still be considered a child (they reach adulthood in their mid-thirties) and I feel the hobbits must be an amazing bunch to take life advice from. They do, after all, live well into their hundreds and know very well how to throw an insane party.  

Oh amelioration. How underrated you are! I avoided this delight like the plague to start with, because it sounded like it would take too much energy. And it’s true, it was harder to knuckle down and do my ten minutes of Duolingo a day – my 200-day streak is still going strong – rather than something simple like a Goof or Deliciousness, but to actually improve upon a skill was incredibly rewarding, and only sparked more growth. I challenged myself in my poetry class with a haiku, something I had never tried before, and after reworking it about seven times, was complimented on it by my tutor. A professional said I did a good job? That was a good feeling, and the experience just left me wanting to continue chasing it. Poetry, yoga, and Italian lessons with a small, green, threatening owl; they all made me want keep trying so I could get better. The first step is always the hardest, but after that, it’s easier and more fun to just keep going.  

I won’t go into too much detail about my sex life aside from the fact that you cannot underestimate the power of an orgasm. Go have one.  

I love being enthralled. I’m a self-diagnosed over thinker, so I can appreciate the beauty in being hyper focused on one thing. Sometimes I feel my upbringing on the internet may have impacted my ability to focus – you’ll never hear me say this again fellow Gen Z’s but I think our parents might be right about this one! – and rebuilding my attention span is taking a bit of training. I didn’t realise how many meals I ate with my phone in my hand, until I asked myself not to do it. It took some determination, but sitting outside in the sun and eating an apple, just letting myself sit there and enjoy it was actually relaxing. My lunch breaks at work feel longer when I’m not on my phone, and I enjoyed becoming transfixed watching people walk back and forth outside of Brisbane Domestic Terminal, and imaging what kinds of lives they’re all living.  

I was a little concerned that I would have no Wildcard moments, but they were easier to recognise than I anticipated, like when the girl I have a small crush on who works at the store across from me waved when I walked past. Forgive me for blushing at something so mundane. Even the euphoria of pushing myself into a flat-out sprint got my soul all excited, or getting drunk and helping my friends graffiti a dirty club bathroom. I have a small wood chopping hobby, and when I managed to break the axe I had – blunt blade, old wooden handle, it happens – seeing that my mum had bought me a brand new one, fancier and less breakable than the last, was such a happy surprise that I went straight back out to chop more wood.  

The Nine Delights really made me prioritise my own pleasure and happiness, and I can confidently say that, if done right, every single item on the list is packed full of happy-inducing nutrients and feel-good minerals. And ticking off three a day is such a small feat. Realistically, if you just go out and eat a really good muffin with a friend and one of you tells a good joke, then you’ve already got all three. I’d say that that’s a lot easier and cheaper than most self-care rituals Instagram influencers recommend. If humans really were put on the Earth for a particular reason, then I think that reason can be found through these Nine Delights.  

Jacinta Rossetto is a writer, artist and editor who is studying a BFA in Creative Writing minoring in Journalism at QUT. Her passion project is a little something called Dawn Street Zine, a zine that she writes, designs, produces and scouts content for. Her favourite genres to write in are gothic fiction, literary fiction and romance fiction. Jacinta has sold her works at Marketto, a small-business market run by Forge Forward, as well as taken part in the Brisbane Writer’s Festival Zine Market. Jacinta identifies as queer, has two German shepherds and eighteen tattoos. 

Jacinta Rossetto
Jacinta Rossetto

Jacinta Rossetto is a writer, artist and editor studying Creative Writing at QUT. Her passion project is a little something called Dawn Street Zine, a zine that she writes, designs, produces and scouts content for. Her favourite genres to write in are gothic and literary fiction.

Articles: 24

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