Monday, May 7, 2012

Finding Joy [Part Two]

From Shelley Sealle's article on Finding Joy on austin.culturemap.com, today's prompt:

Make a list of “Happiness Islands.” These are places, things and activities that make you feel joyful and content. It might be music, traveling, time spent with a loved one, a hobby, working out, pampering, etc. Try to incorporate as many of these into your daily life as possible.

My "Happiness Islands"
Places:
  • Riverside Park on a sunny afternoon
  • The chaise in my living room, with a book and a warm beverage
  • A cafe (my two favorites in the neighborhood are Max Cafe and the Hungarian Pastry Shop), with a book, pastry/cake/delicious something and a latte
  • Reading a book in bed before falling asleep
Things:
  • A good book 
  • Giant tea-cups on saucers
  • Warm beverages such as milk tea, black tea with milk, coffee with warm milk, or cocoa that can be put in said giant tea-cups with saucers
  • The feel of my face at night after I've washed, exfoliated, and moisturized
  • A warm towel from the dryer (a distant dream in our current apartment)
  • A good cookbook
  • A home-cooked meal that was satisfying to make (new recipe that was fun, maybe tried a new technique, or a steadfast favorite/comfort-food)
  • A pretty, made bed
  • A clean kitchen bathed in morning sunlight
  • Warm baked goods
  • Baby socks
  • Clean sheets
Activities
  • Reading a good book (surprise, surprise!), especially if it's out of the house, by myself
  • Writing: working on my blog, free-writing for my thesis, or just writing for fun
  • Reading to Felicity
  • Spending time with Ian where we get to chat, like while we are playing a game, cooking together, eating dinner, talking in bed before we go to sleep, going on a walk, or just playing with the baby on the floor together. I think these are my favorite moments.
  • Cooking something new and exciting
  • Trying a new restaurant or a new dish
  • Kick-boxing
  • Yoga
  • Making and eating breakfast with Ian in the morning
  • Having a friend over for tea and conversation
  • Walking in Riverside Park with another mom and baby duo
  • Attending my moms' group on Friday mornings
  • Holding a sleeping baby in my arms
  • Having an "adventure" with Ian: going someplace new and/or unplanned, whether we're taking a weekend trip, going slightly off-course to find a brewery, or finding ourselves in a new part of the city with a few free hours 
  • Receiving back- or head-rubs from Ian (especially when I'm not feeling well, or have a headache)
  • Snuggling on the couch in a thick blanket with some Haagen Daaz to watch a movie or show
In looking over these things, I am reminded how easily I can be pleased. I am constantly surprised and a little embarrassed at how 'fussy' I am (our word of choice, an alternative to high maintenance, which I like to think I avoid but probably embody on a fairly regular basis), yet how quickly and easily I can be satiated, even excited. I used to consider myself extremely low maintenance, but it turns out that I need a lot of attention (constant pats, hugs, beeps, kisses, and compliments all day long).

As I write, the Columbia students have started their "Primal Cheer," the scream that happens at midnight before the semester finals start. They may have started a minute early (11:59, egads!), but this is as good an indication as any that it's time to turn off my computer and get into my cozy bed with my cleanish sheets and my warm, snuggly husband, and fall asleep.