Getting My Three Cs In

The first few things I neglect when I’m stressed are chilling time, cleaning time, and cooking time. Today, I made time for all three.

Chilling

I caught up with a girlfriend on life and school and old reading favorites. We were talking about childhood faves, and she brought up Margaret Peterson Haddix, whose novel Running Out of Time was my absolute favorite and inspired me to write my own historical fiction and sci fi tales. I’d never actually met anyone else who loved Haddix’s works as a child, and it was mind-blowing to think about all those great memories curled up with her books! We vowed to read and discuss The Shadow Children series over the next winter.

I’m pretty sure that was the first dark series I read as a kid. I loved it and wanted more!

Cooking

I roasted ome stuffed red bell peppers with black beans, rice and cheddar. It makes me want to stuff roasted red peppers with falafel…I think the textures would be really superb.

Cleaning

A clean desk always makes me feel productive, regardless of my level of productivity. I made a cup of hot chocolate and lit a candle (because why not? Now the air smells like coffee — life is always good when the air smells like coffee.)

I’m happy with today.

Day 6 Mantra: Make time for the three Cs (chilling, cooking, and cleaning.)

Side note: I found this quote from the magnificent Allie Brosh of Hyperbole and a Half, in which I cracked up because I found this quote:

As a kid, Allie Brosh loved dogs. LOVED them. She loved them so much that as a ten-year-old writing a letter to her future self, dogs were her main concern:

“Dear 25 year old…Do you still like dogs? What is your favourite dog? Do you have a job training dogs? Is murphy [the family pet] still alive? What is your favourite food?? Are mom and dad still alive?”

I totally get it. Dog lover life.

The Pursuit of Happiness is Futile (It’s More Optimistic Than You Think)

Lucille Ball quote via incompletemagazine.com
Lucille Ball quote via incompletemagazine.com

Somewhere along this past year or so, I felt like I lost a part of myself. I could never put my finger on exactly when this happened, but this loss — my mojo, my juju, my passion — chipped away at me slowly.

Some days, I missed it more than others. Most of the time, I tried to stay so busy that I didn’t feel its loss at all. It’s hard to be introspective when you’re hustling and studying constantly.

I love learning. I’ve always thrived in school. It was my thing, the way other kids has sports and dance. I immersed myself in reading and knowing all the right answers. School gave me this kind of power, at a young age, that I could never achieve in any kind of (coordination needed) sport.

Yet, I couldn’t understand why this schedule was making me completely miserable. I was doing well in my classes and enjoyed the subject material — but every day felt the same. I felt like a total drone. I’d felt like I’d lost my sense of purpose — and it felt like  more than senioritis. I didn’t know how to deal with falling out of love with school.

It was burnout at its finest.

Now that I’m taking some time to reflect (truly reflect) on what brings me contentment. I’ve always chased after success, thinking success is going to make me happy (spoiler alert: it won’t!) or at least catapult me to the next level of contentment.

I’ve realized some things, chief among them: the pursuit of happiness is futile. I may be a realist, but I don’t think this is necessarily a pessimistic outlook. The fact is, life just happens, and you’re not so much pursuing it as you are just flying by the seat of your pants, trying to adjust before life shifts and you have to deal with the Next Thing.

Maybe I should rephrase this. Chasing after what might make you happy is like a lottery ticket. You don’t really know. But the things that make you happy right now? Those are a sure bet. And I’m not talking about the instant gratification of someone liking your photo on social media, or even the joy a sale at your fave shop (New York & Company, I’m looking at you…) can bring.

Confession of a control freak here: I’m all about finding a path. Toss me some sort of Life Plan and I get all excited about how bright my future will be. But life doesn’t work like that — the prospects of a future might excite me, but it’s so important to stand back and take notice of the good in your life right now before life takes me to a different place.

Day 4 Mantra: Don’t wait for happiness — experience contentment right now.

Little parts of today that made me happy:

  • Finding a quiet corner of the cafe to read with a cup of coffee
  • Strolling down the street, enjoying the last bit of good weather before winter settles in
  • Bumping into a friend
  • Listening to a thought-provoking podcast (I’m binge-listening to Radiolab, and today’s episode was Translation)
  • Inhaling the scent of fresh laundry
  • Journaling
  • Cleaning my room
  • Lighting a coffee-scented candle
  • Watching the sky turn dark
  • Gulping fresh water
  • Flopping on my bed and taking a moment to stare at my ceiling

What made you happy today? What are some things that ground you and reignite your mojo?