50 Things That Make Me Happy + What Are Yours?
It’s no secret that the last two, nearly three years of my life have been tough. I went through difficult, trying times. There were many “firsts” that I experienced during that time- most of which I wish I hadn’t.
Being in a “rut” is definitely not as I’d describe it. More like “having the rug pulled from under your feet time and time AND TIME again.” Funny enough, those life-changing (or life-ruining, as I thought about them at the time) moments have a tendency to happen at a point just as everything is falling into place.
Here’s a giant shit sandwich, I hope you enjoy. Love, the Universe.
I kind of gave up on many things during that time. Some of them because I had no choice, others I just had no strength or motivation to go after. All I kept thinking about, was how much I wanted things to go back to “normal” and how badly I wanted to feel (and act) like myself again. The problem is that when you do go through tough times and change, you’re not really the same person you once were. You have these new, unpleasant life-changing experiences, yes. What you also have are the lessons that came along with them.
It took me a long time, but at one point I finally realized that while not everything will go back to “normal” I can feel more like my “old” self again. It’s just going to take time- and this wasn’t easy to accept. Yet, here I am today- feeling as close to myself as I have in years. Really, it’s those small, “everyday” things I missed the most. Being able to spend half a day in the kitchen without feeling like my spine is on fire. Taking Blu for a long walk in the park every Sunday. Enjoying writing and photography again. Working on my growth, journaling and… making lists.
Every month, I sat down and wrote a long list of things that I feel grateful for. I gave it up for a while there and eventually when I found my way back, gratitude is what pulled me out of that dark place. Another list I like to make, although not as often, is a list of 50 things that make me happy. It’s been a while since my last one and to be honest when I looked at that last one, I saw things like “snowboarding” or “plyometric training” and didn’t feel very happy. Those are some of the things I haven’t been able to do in years since my car accident and back injury. It was a little discouraging, not going to lie. I know though, that I’ll be able to write them down on one of my next lists. Maybe not this one or even the one after that, but I will.
Making a list of things that make you happy takes your focus away from worries and shines it on things you love and enjoy. It’s tough to write one of these and not smile or giggle a few times. This is mine, right here, and I highly encourage you to write one of your own. Especially if you find yourself in a dark or confusing place in life.
50 THINGS THAT MAKE ME HAPPY
1. My family- Mark, my parents, sissy, brother, my cousin, nieces and nephews. Even though we get crazy sometimes, as most families do, I can’t imagine life without all the inside jokes, pranks, and our little traditions, or without their support.
2. My dog, Blu. He’s been by my side through some of the most important times in life since I was 18 and freshman in college.
3. Both my gravity blanket and my heated blanket. Can’t do fall + winter without them.
4. My favorite, small black pillow I got before a flight once and now can’t sleep without.
6. C.O. Bigelow Cold and Flu Soak– it’s been a heaven-sent for my back and leg pain.
7. Road trips, which are often more fun than the actual destination.
9. Cooking. One of my favorite ways to relieve stress.
10. Spearmint tea.
11. Also, green tea, with just a touch of honey.
12. The Office, of course.
13. Scented candles.
14. Cozy socks. I always have a pair stashed under my pillow in case I get cold in the morning.
15. Summer rain.
16. Fresh haircut.
17. Online shopping. Duh.
20. Good sleep- no longer than 6-7 hours though.
21. Reading a good thriller. Currently not-too-patiently awaiting the release of the latest book in the Stillhouse Lake series.
23. Dark chocolate with sea salt.
25. Board-game nights.
26. Rainy weekend movie marathons.
27. Morning cuddles.
29. The smell of freshly-cut grass.
30. Spending time alone.
31. Being able to give back and help others.
32. Waking up feeling strong and pain-free.
33. Days when I feel extra creative.
34. Trying out new recipes.
35. Lying on the grass in the Summer.
36. Fresh laundry.
37. Cozy PJs.
38. Surprising my family and friends with gifts.
39. Grocery shopping.
40. Getting to bed after a long day in fresh, crisp straight-out-of-the-dryer bedding.
41. Christmas lights.
42. Looking at the clock and catching “11:11” or “7:13”
43. The smell of banana bread baking in the oven.
44. Harry Potter books.
45. Learning Photoshop, editing photos.
46. Reading my favorite blogs.
47. My laptop + other tech equipment.
48. Keeping a balloon in the air for as long as possible. We did this as kids and I tried it on my birthday this year- forgot how much fun this actually is. Probably even more fun to do as an adult.
49. Getting emails from people who read my blog.
50. Productive days.
One of the important lessons I learned in recent years was to stop taking things for granted. To be grateful.
Yes, both were things that I already considered to be very important in life. Truth is that these things are much easier to remember and exercise when everything in your life is going well. When you’re dealing with a lot of pain and uncertainty, you sometimes start feeling angry and resentful. You want to move on, but you feel stuck asking yourself “why me?” Reminding yourself about things that make you happy, things that put a smile on your face, things you feel grateful for, is a good way to start.