My Happiness To-Do List

Over the past year and a half or so, I’ve been on a big “figure out what makes you happy, then DO those things” kick. This was triggered by the stress of our current tour. I know myself well enough to know that my gut impulse when I’m stressed out or feeling depressed is to retract–stay home, eat, sleep, and wait for it to pass. That may have worked out okay when Matt deployed 9 years ago, while I was pregnant and exhausted from building another person’s cardiovascular system, but this time around, with 2 kids to keep looking forward, hibernation wasn’t going to fly. I needed to actively engage with the things that interest me, to prevent myself from wallowing. Once I started doing it, I realized that it’s crazy that I haven’t been doing it all along. OF COURSE I should be thinking about and doing things that make my heart feel light and keep my brain whirring along. We all should.

The first thing that I tackled, for a score of reasons beyond my own happiness and psychological fulfillment, was getting myself into shape. 3 years of eating my way through Europe, plus 9  months of pregnancy, plus a year of not taking care of myself, post-partum, had compounded into medical problems that scared the crap out of me. (Months of antihistamine-unresponsive hives that culminated in my mouth swelling up, and the doctors freaking the F out because my throat was very likely next.) I did what I had never been able to do before in my life: feed my body nutritious food and exercise every day, no matter what. It worked. My hives came under control. I lost weight. I grew stronger. I had enough energy to keep up with my guys. I could get up the stairs without losing my breath. All good things.

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Learning to treat my body well and challenge the limits that I’d spent a lifetime confining it to was an enormous change for me, and I started thinking about all the other things that I’d always wanted to do, but hadn’t.

I made a list. I hung that list on my fridge, and add to it whenever something pops into my head.

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I like lists. It’s satisfying to cross things off as I accomplish them. One “problem” with this particular list is that the items are mostly ongoing, so nothing is ever complete. It’s a good reminder to have hanging up, though, and I want to start focusing more deliberately on pursuing these things that make me happy. Here’s my list, in no particular order, besides how they popped into my head:

  1. Make wreaths
  2. Paint
  3. Make croissants
  4. Knit (learn how)
  5. Run a 5k (I DID THIS ONE!)
  6. Crafts
  7. Make cinnamon buns
  8. Sourdough starter/ learn more about bread
  9. Light grill/cook on it
  10. Photography. Use the good camera
  11. Learn Italian
  12. Write something. Anything. (Does this count? haha!)
  13. Learn to love madeleines or donate the pan
  14. Learn to love canneles or donate the pan
  15. DECLUTTER
  16. Learn to do makeup (problem here is that I’m also super cheap. If you have cheap makeup suggestions, let me know.)
  17. Learn to do hair
  18. Stop dressing like a slob
  19. Stop hoarding non-perishable food and cook the pantry
  20. Work out early, so can play more with kiddos
  21. Plant things. Don’t kill them. Grow food.
  22. Meatless Mondays. Less beef.
  23. Make photo albums, starting 2010. Eeek.
  24. Dye hair teal. (Probably not going to happen, but I’ve always wanted to.)
  25. The boots
  26. Don’t quit on Turbofire
  27. Use Nigella seeds that I bought
  28. Make a pavlova
  29. Read, read, read

I’ve taken small steps for a bunch of these things. I made myself a wreath for Halloween.

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Just writing this blog post has lit a fire under my butt to make myself a Christmas wreath, even though I have no vision in my head of what I want right now. I did run a 5k. Wooooo! I haven’t actually decluttered much, but I DO think about it a lot. hahaha. I bought myself some new clothes and put makeup on a little more often. I’ve been eating less beef. I’ve been waking up early to get some work done (not workouts, usually, but it’s still productive). The process is ongoing.

What’s on your list? What are all the things that you’ve always wanted to do, but haven’t, for one reason or another? No time like the present to start!

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