Thursday, October 5, 2017

My Happy List

There has been so much sadness in the world lately. It's hard to process it all. You get sad and then confused and then angry and then your heart breaks all over again. People keep saying "It's too hard to watch the news, so I just can't anymore." But we can't turn a blind eye to everything. We can't stop being empathetic and compassionate, writing the donation checks however small they may be and hearing the stories. Don't the people living through it wish they could just choose to ignore it. And though I have many, many thoughts and opinions about our country right now, that isn't what this post is about. This post is about silly, trivial things that lift my heart ever so slightly when it seems like the world is constantly weeping.  

In college, my roommates and I started a "happiness list." It was a list of tiny things that make us smile. We'd email it around, each person adding a numbered item when something came to mind. It was especially helpful during exam time and when we were all abroad in different countries. The list included things like, "when friends take care of you like your mom would when you're sick" and "when there is no wait for the elliptical machine at the gym" and "sitting on the porch on a fall day." By the time we graduated, I think the list was in the hundreds. Some were seriousrecognizing the happiness of family and discovering self-worth and independenceand others were silly, like eating chocolate chip pancakes for breakfast. 

I decided I need a happiness list right now. It doesn't fix anything happening in the world. It doesn't add anything constructive to the conversation. But it helps me to keep my sanity and perspective so I can keep watching the news and hearing the stories, and identify ways that I can legitimately help. It's the self-care I need to be able to hopefully help others. I'm privileged to be able to celebrate the little things right now, when many people cannot. So that's what I'm going to do. Here's the start of the list I'm creating. I encourage you to do the same. 

  • Fall weather (come back, Fall!) and sitting on the deck in a sweater
  • When our puppy blissfully sticks his head out the window while we're driving
  • Respectful discourse on controversial topics
  • Caramel Apple Spice tea. Tea in general. 
  • When J volunteers to take the dog out in the early morning even though that's my time to take the dog out. (Because sometimes you just can't fathom getting out of bed and putting on shoes at 6:30 AM.)
  • Checking in on the "countdown clock" to our wedding (85 days, but who's counting)
  • The opportunity to vote (PSA: Research your candidates for fall elections. Know where they stand.)
  • Addressing wedding invitations 
  • Watching parents be proud of their kids
  • Actually doing 10 er, 8 real push-ups in barre class when I used to be able to do 0
  • Friends having babies
  • My bachelorette party this weekend and getting to spend time with incredible women I've known for decades (and wine)
  • Watching little kids learn to read
  • The satisfaction that comes from cleaning with those Mr. Clean Magic Erasers. (They really are magic, y'all) 
  • A nice strong hug, when you didn't realize you needed it
  • When the puppy puts his head on my leg at the end of the day and lets out a big sigh. (Me too, Norm. Me too.)
  • Almond croissants