I found a "30 Day Writing Challenge" that isn't blog-related, isn't time driven, so I'm going to try to follow it. It's just 30 writing prompts, and the first is:
List 10 things that make you really happy.
I almost moved to the second item, because I'm on the brink of depression again, and coming up with things that make me happy is HARD! But then I decided it would be a good exercise, simply because of that. I am not happy. My inclination is to see all the doom and despair, so forcing myself to dredge up memories of what makes me happy might help!
1. Singing along with the music - in the car, at home, joining the earworm du jour. I was raised in a musical family. I once read that a sign/symptom of depression is when things that bring you joy no longer bring you joy. That was my first step toward successfully warding off the black cloud. When driving to work, if a singable song came on the radio and I was too down to even sing, I started to force myself to sing anyway. It helped!
2. Walking on the beach. Not a romantic walk. I think I'm actually happiest doing these walks solo. I lived at the beach for 12 years and walked it in all weather. I'm not a swimmer - I can, but I typically don't - but walking in the shallows is heaven. The sand between my toes, the roar of the waves, or the light sloshing sound of low-tide. Joy.
3. I am finding that I truly enjoy editing scripts. It's a weird one, but as an ESL teacher in China, I have had to edit nearly every play they want me to do. I can find scripts, but typically the ones that are age-appropriate use words that are a bit advanced for early English learners. That, or I'm given a script that someone wrote based on a Chinese tale, or perhaps through a non-native speaker or simply non-theater-person, and the dialog is clunky. OR - I have too many students for the number of parts and I'm asked to add more roles! I actually enjoy it now. It gives me a sense of accomplishment.
4. Sitting in a coffee shop with a coffee and a book. Actually, I guess it doesn't have to be a coffee shop. It could be at home or in a park, too. This is my ideal. I've been working on a reading nook for myself in our tiny apartment, and it's nice to escape to when I can. My perfect house will have such a place.
5. Yoga. I do yoga every morning, and used to do more at night sometimes, but my evening workouts have slipped as our wifi slipped: I follow 2 youtube yoga channels, but they keep buffering now so it's just annoying.
Yoga With Adriene and Yoga By Candace
If you're curious to try yoga, I recommend Adriene for beginners.
6. Acting. I miss it now, but when I was on stage regularly, that truly made me happy. Each play is a rollercoaster of joys and struggles, but overall I love it. For now, the closest I get to that feeling is when I'm recording the English lessons for the online portal of the publisher I work for. It's not the same. I could never do TV. Too much starting and stopping.
7. My in-laws. Is that weird? They are a fun bunch, and I truly enjoy the company of my husband's family. It's very different from my family - less drama, fewer "rules".
8. Baking. When I lived out east and couldn't see family for Christmas, my tradition was to spend Christmas Day baking. I would do about 7 types of cookies, and bake a quick zucchini pie for my lunch. It was a science - everything planned out - cookie dough that needed refrigeration was started the night before, and I did dishes as I went, so that I could make new dough for the next batch while one was baking. Loved it.
Married, I discovered the joy of making scones for breakfast. From scratch.
Here in China? We don't have an oven. SOooo... it's another thing to miss for now.
9. Planning. I wasn't going to list this because right now, trying to find tickets to plan a trip back to the States is kind of annoying, but planning in general is still a happy thing. Like planning my baking days used to be. I can plan a day, or a week, or plan my reading nook or the organization of my desk. Order makes me happy. It's probably an attempt to find control in the chaos. So much for my psychosis!
10. Having a productive day. This is an assessment I make every night. I don't always make a to-do list, but I have a daily "done" list. Again, gives me a sense of accomplishment.
Making this list wasn't as much of a struggle as I thought it would be, but several items are part of the past... If I limited myself to things that make me happy now? I don't know what I'd replace those things with.
Your turn. What makes you truly happy?