Perspective is so important. It’s something we all know. During setbacks and challenges, it’s a “yes, duh. Needs to be done.” Me? I’m a pretty lucky gal with regards to general lifetime developments. No major tragedies or traumas (at least that I can share). I have loads to be thankful for. I know that. But even when you know you are lucky, shit can just go sour. And when I say sour, I mean SOUR with dumb stuff that, in the great scheme of things will all work out but for some reason (RN) seem pretty crummy and can cause an overall asshole-y attitude towards life.
I’m sure this counts a vague-booking, even if it’s not on Facebook. I wish I could write up all the angst-ridden details in a post like I used to, back in the late 90s when I didn’t know any better. Terms like “Dooced” exist now. Etc., etc., etc.
I guess my point is, while I’ve been focused probably too heavily on things I cannot control, I realize that it is possible to channel energy in a positive direction. And hopefully, in the end, it feels just as therapeutic as a thrashing tell-all blog post that feels awesome to write in the moment, but drips of regret as as it ages just like all those teenage journals I have upstairs in the attic, the ones I cannot bear to throw away but also cause me to recoil in humiliation every time I open them and relive the raw feelings of that myopic world view.
Okay. My point. What’s my point.
Oh yeah, channeling energy.
So, I got home tonight and immediately broke my #1 healthy habit goal I set forth on Sunday evening (no weekday alcohol) by fixing myself a vodka martini straight up. As I drank my forbidden drink, I was thinking about what brings me joy (and I honestly I didn’t meant to tie that statement to vodka in the same paragraph, but yes, vodka brings me joy, too). No, I was thinking about things that bring me joy. Other things that maybe I haven’t had time for in the past year, 3 years, 8 years. It’s a fair observation that my sources of joy for the past 6-8 years have narrowed and grown less diverse. And if at the present moment joy isn’t coming from its regular source in great supply, well, perhaps it’s time to diversify.
In contemplating what brings me joy, I went back to a bunch of the usual suspects. Or maybe, more accurately, the usual suspects of the late twenties, early & mid-Thirties Heather. The question I was asking, what do I miss? What do I love but I just don’t make time for? What used to bring me joy when I wasn’t dialed into worked and social media 24/7?
Cycling. Yes, that. I don’t do that nearly as much as I used to. Although, truth be told, finding time in my life now for the length of rides I used to take would be challenging. That said, I went for a 18 mile ride on Friday afternoon and it was really nice and something I need to do more often.
Reading is another activity that, sadly, I think “screen time” has eroded. I was never the most vociferous reader, but I could put a dent into some fiction. Non-fiction, too. And if you graphed my “books read per year” vs. “hours spend on mobile”, I can guarantee it wouldn’t tell a pretty story. Books read have dropped, screen time has exploded. Honestly, I’m at the point where the “screens off an hour before bed” rule seems physically impossible. I’ve recently tried to fight back on this item as both my sleeping quality has suffered and my notches on my Good Reads list has decreased. Especially after Trump won the election, I decided to be more thoughtful about my free time by making reading more of a priority (and from a variety of sources i.e. not just YA novels). Less screen time, more books was my post-election strategy and it’s been treating me okay. I’m still on my phone too much, but at least I’ve put back more books by June of 2017 than I did in all of 2016 (a stat I’m both embarrassed and proud of).
Okay. Back to joy sources: cycling, reading. Running is there, too, but I’ve been in this whole recovery thing which is it’s whole own blog post. But, yes, needs focus but also is limited due to my recovery. Unfortunately, the short story is no immediately marathon or big race planning. It’s enough that I can get in a few 3-mile runs per week. So while I love that, it’s not exactly the bountiful joy source that it used to be.
But then, what else?
Dogs? Check. We have been walking way more and I’m so proud of that.
Cooking? Well, I used to like to cook. I don’t really like it anymore. But I’m trying to embrace it again and I did make a kick-ass strawberry-rhubarb pie last weekend that was seriously the bomb.
And after that, well, aside from my marriage and traveling, the one thing that really stood out that I both love and don’t have time for much anymore is writing.
While I’ve never considered myself a writer (even though that’s technically what I did go to college for) writing has always been a great source of pleasure whether it was through blogging or social media posting or even the journal-writing in my teens . Communications is just something I love. And this love is what initially put me in front of my Apple Performa in 1997 when I decided an online journal was a good idea.
I need to write more.
And maybe the word “need” is too strong. “Want” may be a better choice. But I do need to carve out time. Make it habit. Maybe not be so filled with “the other” that I don’t have time for this.
I never did write the full story of Machu Picchu. I certainly didn’t tell the detail of Patagonia. And I’m fairly certain there are dozens if not hundreds of humiliating and comedic anecdotal life experiences to share such as …. [INSERT FUNNY STORY HERE]
I need to make time for writing. And this blog post is an over-typed elegy to that crusade. But it’s kind of what I needed to get off my chest before I dive in. This is a commitment to do more of what I love. To make time for what I love just like I did tonight. Instead of staring at my phone or watching TV, I worked on this and it honestly feels more productive and satisfying.
The best part? I have plenty of material. As mentioned above, our last two international trips deserve so much documentation and Iceland will be round the corner soon enough. Even for selfish reasons, I need to commit to text these experiences.
So, this is it. My committment to write. To start with Iceland and Patagonia and end up where ever. To spend less time on my phone and more time creating.
At the end of the day, if joy isn’t coming to you, make it. Do it. Change it.
Which, ironically, I find super exciting. I might not be where I want to in some present circumstances, but life just called me to be somewhere else in my freetime. And when life calls, you have to listen, right?