Not only am I suffering from a severe case of inertia, but I have been in a perpetual terrible mood for what seems like days. The past two weeks have been hectic with school work, and tonight, sometime before bed, I will attempt to plan out tomorrow’s discussion of Frederick Douglass and Abe Lincoln. But before that, I just want to sit here on the couch and think about nothing. Perhaps a little Top Chef All Stars: Reunion will lighten my mood.
While I usually look forward to writing my posts each night, lately, I have been feeling zapped of all creativity. Is it the pregnancy? The lack of sleep? The repetition of my get-up-go-to-work-come-home-make-dinner-do-homework routine with no real fun or adventure in between? Hard to say. I’ve been struggling to find the energy and enthusiasm to write about our babymoon in Charleston, but I suppose I will save it for a day when I’m a little less distracted and a whole lot more pleasant.
So, in an attempt to rid myself of the blues, I thought I’d reflect on the five things that always make me happy. It may not get me to a more productive night, but it might encourage me to start waking up to a better day. Or, maybe it’ll just stop me from being on the verge of tears all the time:
1. My Pets
I have an over-the-top love affair with my cats. It’s borderline unhealthy. But what can I say? They bring me a crazy amount of joy. When I get home from work, Harry is waiting for me in the laundry room. He is looking for affection–and maybe a snack–before we climb onto the couch and zone out to Oprah or whatever I’ve got stored on the DVR. And a little later, when I am ready for what has become my mandatory afternoon nap, Aggie is already cuddled in bed, waiting for me to sink into the sheets and pass out. While I make dinner, they stalk me, while I watch TV or grade papers or write my evening posts, they sit on or near me, and while I sleep, they rest at my side or by my feet.
It might be nerdy and a bit sad, but no matter what kind of craptastic day I’ve been having, I can get an instant smile or laugh just by looking at my furry little beasts.
I despise packing and finding the time to clean the house and prepare for time away, but once I leave for a vacation, I have no problems sinking into deep relaxation. I don’t even need a real itinerary; some of the best trips I’ve taken included a lot of spontaneity. I like arriving in a new city and taking the time to walk around and figure out the streets and to stop into the shops. In my every day life, I have a hard time of letting go of things, but on vacation, I am always able to leave my anxieties at home. The things that consume me with worry at home just seem to vanish on a vacation, and when I’m traveling, it might just be the only times I am ever able to really relax.
My favorite vacations have been to Arizona, Italy and Hawaii, but the quick weekend getaway to Washington DC or Boston or Charleston can be so very delightful.
3. Ice Cream
During the summer months, Mike and I always like to enjoy an ice cream treat after dinner. I look for lower calorie treats like Drumstick Ice Cream Minis or ice cream sandwiches, but I don’t feel guilty about the indulgence. In fact, I will often sacrifice calories earlier in the day in order to make room for my ice cream at night. And sometimes, I just go for it and get the full-fat, full-delicious variety. Case in point: the amazing, stupendous Sonic Pineapple Shake. This thing is unbelievable. And in the summer months, I will take a special trip to Mike’s office just so we can get our Sonic fix.
Few things in this world make me feel better faster than ice cream. Maybe I should have had some earlier tonight.
4. The Beach
Growing up in New Jersey, visits to the beach were plentiful. Mom is a serious sun worshipper, and she made day trips to the shore one of her biggest priorities come summertime. We’d pack sandwiches and fruit and fill the beach bag with sheets and towels, magazines, a deck of cards and whatever else we thought might entertain us, and then we’d head out early enough to soak in every inch of sun.
As time passed and we got older, we cultivated different traditions and habits. We learned how to pack more efficiently and how to get the most out of the day, but we’ve never ceased to love a day at the beach. In fact, I still head home every week in the summer to join my Mom on the sand.
I can’t wait until Baby Boy is old enough to partake in the fun. A day at the beach really is a guaranteed way to feel relaxed, happy and at peace.
5. Purposeless Drives or Walks
I don’t hate commuting to and from work, but I would never count it among the things that make me happiest. Likewise, I don’t look forward to long drives where someone or something is waiting for me on the other end. Though I couldn’t wait to get to Charleston, the eleven hour trip was brutal. And I loathe stop and go traffic, particularly when I have errands to run. But, there’s something about a leisurely drive to nowhere that I find quite pleasing.
I love sitting in my car, and sometimes, when I get into the garage, I like just sitting there for a few moments, completely at rest. I like it when there is a lack of pressure to be anywhere, and for some reason, the car has become my comfort zone. I love turning up music or listening to a book on my iPhone and just escaping for a little while.
Similarly, I love a good hike or a long walk to nowhere. Even though it’s hard to get motivated when it comes to working out, I am addicted to the high that comes after a good hour or so of physical activity. And going out for a strong, brisk walk is one of those great pleasures that can’t be accomplished during every season in Southeastern PA, at least not comfortably. I scarcely want to get out there in the oppressive heat of summer or the bitter cold of winter, but when the weather is just right, nothing feels quite like a good, strong walk.
Of all the things I’ve missed during my pregnancy (sadly, hot dogs with sauerkraut come to mind), going on an athletic walk is high on the list. I hope Baby Boy likes being in his stroller!
When I began my list, I came up with the cats and traveling, and then I got a little stumped. I asked Mike for advice, and he rambled off a list of possibilities:
“Well, you like watching TV and taking naps and shopping and writing and reading and going to movies,” he said.
All of these are things I enjoy, but I wanted a list of things that made me feel giddy enough to bring me out of a slump. I sat there looking at the cursor, frustrated.
“What about me,” he said. “Don’t I make you happy?”
After being awakened early by an emergency at work, spending all day fixing various technical problems that arose, battling traffic jams on the ride to and from work and painting the babies room after a late dinner, he was settled there on the couch next to me, trying to cheer me up. And underneath all the crankiness that has caked over my heart in recent weeks, I realized that, indeed, more than anything else, he makes me happiest of all.