Five Things We All Need To Be Enjoying A Lot More
In my current, budget-intensive state of life, I find myself reflecting on my big goals and aspirations. There are many things i still want to do, even though I really did take advantage of great traveling and adventure opportunities in my whimsical days before marriage and kids. I want to take Garrett to Italy, I want a gleaming, barely used mini-van, I want a subscription to the Magnolia Journal, I want to shop at Trader Joe’s without making a return trip down the aisle to put back the fun frivolous thing that I thought better of.
But even though I still desire those things, and I want to work towards them, I know in my bones that there are simple things in life that are meant to truly be enjoyed and savored. I think it’s a damn shame that so many people interiorally chase dreams of glamour and neglect to appreciate the simple, free joys of life that surround us in abundance.
It sounds cheesy, but it seriously is so much to find a new recipe and attempt to recreate it. Admittedly, I am terrible at cooking. But deviating from my normal, predictable grocery list to venture into new territory of dates or sweet potato boats or Thai coconut soup…it feels exhilarating. I’ve fallen in love with doing a hard workout on a Saturday morning and then feasting on an intense omelette or huge batch of banana protein pancakes. Try it sometime.
I teach my fourth graders that the printing press was a radical, life changing invention. Honestly, the modern reality of libraries and having literally any text at your disposal is intense and something that we all take for granted. I think of all the folks throughout history who painstakingly waited for a book or manuscript, or even took the trouble to learn how to read as an adult. A lot of people say nowadays that they are “not readers”, and I get that reading can sometimes be a drag because it’s easy to let Amazon and Netflix effortlessly roll out action and adventure during our evenings. But I think it’s a cop out. I think it’s radically pathetic, in a way (yes, talking to myself), to say that we’re not readers when we are, in fact, literate humans and there is a book for every person under the sun. I’ve been reading Harry Potter for the first time and it’s been a magical experience that transports my tired brain out of my living room and into my childhood mindset of fantasy and adventure. Reading is always worth it. It’s a love worth encouraging and fostering in our children.
We all talk about time, time, time, how we have no time. Yes we do. We have time to move every day. Not all of us have access to a gym or a rack of weights at our house. But most of us have a functioning body, and yes, we can use it. Humans were not designed to sit at desks for the majority of their days and then spend the nighttime propped up in front of a screen. We were meant to walk and run and sweat and lift things. I have told my husband that he cannot even engage with me during one of my bad moods unless I have exercised for the day: the endorphins make that much of a difference to me. And they can and should for us all: movement is normative for human persons.
Gone are the days of saving up my money for CD’s or wailing about the state of my broken boombox. Honestly, most of us have access to the internet or a radio or something that plays music. I tend to gravitate towards silence in my free time, but I’ve been trying to play classical music more as a I clean, or discovering a new song or reminiscing about old high school songs that give me all the nostalgia. Music is a powerful, mysterious thing that either makes me want to party or awakens within me a deep sense of longing: longing to see my dad again, to fall deeper in love with life, to be better and more alive than I was the day before.
Introverted or extroverted, I don’t think it matters: we are crafted for connection. We are meant to meet new people, to go bravely in the direction of the men and women we are spying on and want to befriend. The richest and most profound gifts of my life are my friendships, and it’s important that we don’t sacrifice them on the bed of convenience or “this week has been busy”. Conversations, laughter, and shared time is what makes life good, and I think that this is still true whether you have fifty friends or just two. Friends reveal the essence of life’s good stuff and allow us to experience it to its fullest.
So, if you’re feeling blahh or unsatisfied or tired or anything remotely lukewarm inside, I encourage you to seek out these five things, or even just one of them. Especially if you are feeling trapped underneath the weight of debt, the burden of a hard and draining job, or a season of dryness, I think then you need even more of these. I think that most of these things are why even poor people can be authentically joyful and radiantly happy, or conversely, why successful people who seem to have it all come up feeling empty on the inside. These things are what make the spiritual and physical composite clocks inside of us tick, and we all could do with doing our best to cultivate them, water them, and take advantage of them as best we can.