“What do you do like to do for fun?” she asked me.
“Ummm…drink wine with my friends and…Pinterest?” I replied.
Oh man. It was that simple question that got me thinking…what DO I like to do for fun?? Because, seriously? “Pinterest” is an absolutely horrific answer.
But to be honest, I was just so damn tired and burnt out that all I really wanted to do when I got a moment to get bored, was veg out and scroll through my phone.
Since then I’ve identified that I want to spend more time learning photography, because I LOVE it. I also want to spend as much time as possible outside, exploring new places and hiking/walking/meandering. I want to get back into yoga and read interesting books and find hidden gems in the Northeast US (of which, there are MANY). I love hanging out at farms (I’ll say it’s for the kids, but really I just love horses…and cows and sheep and goats haha) and taking in anything that feels rustic and old. US & International adventure travel are on my “goal” list and I want to get more intentional about making some actual plans happen.
So, what do YOU like to do for fun?
Where does your curiosity lie? What do you find yourself thinking about when you’re supposed to be focusing on other stuff? If there were no restrictions on looking stupid or shirking responsibility, what would you spend your time doing?
I found out that you kind of owe it to yourself to ask these questions. It makes work, parenting and weekends way more interesting when you’re making plans to do stuff that’s interesting to you. Go figure.
Make life intentional. Try to not just simply survive and scroll.
When was the last time you took a vacation day JUST BECAUSE?
In 10+ years working full-time, I don’t think I had ever done it.
And then I DID…and it was NICE!
As a full-time, working parent, it’s not often that I get even a minute to do something that isn’t required of me. Even the fun stuff requires some level of preparation and accommodation of other people’s needs.
So I tapped out for a day.
I put up my OOO. I went to a yoga class, got a pedicure and wandered around quaint little Northeast towns with my camera, popping into shops and making small talk with the chatty store owners.
I met a lady who ran an ethical, fair trade, apparel shop and knew the back story of absolutely every item in the place: who had made it, where it came from and why it was special.
I met another lady who owned an absolutely TINY, cramped antique shop. Packed to the gills with things she had sourced from her yearly travels around the world, as well as some really lovely handmade lamps (her craft). She tells me, “all the young guys are wearing cuff links again, so I make sure to grab a ton of those when I find them.”
At one point, I was sitting in a random little coffee shop, steaming cup of tea in front of me and a fresh pressed panini grilled cheese on its way. The building is historic and the original wood floor was scuffed up with the travels of so many feet in so many years.
The furniture was perfectly mismatched and the old, wavy windows looked out onto the river that rushed under a lovely little bridge.
Across the room from me is a group of about 7 old ladies playing scrabble and whooping it up, like they had been meeting here for years and wouldn’t have it any other way.
It was all just so damn…charming.
So basically, this is me encouraging everyone who reads this to tap out every once in a while. Intentionally plan out a day that you can just wander around and follow your curiosity. Talk to the other random, delightful people that inhabit this world and take a moment to gently move around.
Step lightly, and without desperately achieving something for a change.
“I’m going to make everything around me beautiful, and that will be my life.” – Elsie de Wolfe –
So how does one “Create a life you love” you ask? Well, by actively surrounding yourself with things and experiences you love, duh.
But I’m totally not talking about going broke buying shoes…
Here, maybe this will help:
Imagine you’re on a desert island. Alone. After combing through the island looking for resources, you’ve discovered an ancient cave, full of ancient markings. And in this cave, you find a smooth stone on a pedestal with clear instructions to turn it 3 times in your hand, and it will manifest ANYTHING you want. Except escape from the island. What do you do? What do you wish for? What do you surround yourself with? No, stop trying to escape the damn island!! It’s an exercise. Go with it.
The point is, there is nobody there to judge you. What do you wish was there to pass the time? How do you choose to spend your time when you have endless resources but no commitments or expectations?
Back in the real world, it may seem like you have the exact opposite: no resources and endless commitments (usually to others). We don’t even realize we’re not incorporating any of the FUN stuff. The stuff that makes our soul sigh with relief and joy. The stuff that makes you feel safe and happy and cared for.
The beauty of this though, is that it doesn’t have to be anything crazy or huge or consequential. Just incorporate delightful things into your life. Period. And not just stuff you think is acceptable or “trendy.” For example, I love Harry Potter. When we were buying a new water bottle for my son for school, I spotted a covered Harry Potter mug – in the kids section – and totally bought it for myself. I know this is not “cool,” but I’ve been happily sipping away for the past month. It makes me unexplainably happy and who am I to argue 🤷🏼♀️ Are your feet always cold? Go get you some seriously cozy slippers. Do fresh flowers make you smile? Buy yourself some! Make your daily life slightly more comfortable, delicious and special.
I will say this though, it totally can be bigger than just flowers. Earlier this year, I realized I actually REALLY do like photography. I’ve had a DSLR camera for about 6 years now and have more or less just functioned with it over those years. Well, like I said, a few months ago I said to myself that I’m going to give photography a good ole college try and get GOOD at it. I wanted more of it in my life. I could literally spend HOURS taking, uploading and editing pictures. I get completely lost in it. Sooooo, I started to put more of it in my life. I got a nice lens (or two), subscribed to Adobe editing software and soak up tutorials, and make an effort to bring my camera out at least once every weekend. I’m definitely not the best photographer that ever was. I’m still a beginner, but I’ve seen my photography & editing improve immensely over the past few months and it’s made me SO HAPPY to have more of this hobby in my life! BOOM.
I’ve also been sooooo guilty of blaming my house for not being “sanctuary-esque” enough. Like, damnit house! Why don’t I feel calm when I walk in your door?? Then I look around, and realize hmmmm…if I were to just figure out a solution for that shoe clutter by the door, I wouldn’t be greeted by something that makes me angry when I walk in. And how about working on de-cluttering relentlessly so I can actually find things I’m looking for, rather than losing my freaking mind every time I need something? And what about a nice, glow-y salt lamp instead of harsh lighting when we’re relaxing as a family in the living room? And slippers. I highly recommend slippers.
And one last thing. Please don’t suffer needlessly. Fix things that just aren’t working. Cracked phone screen slicing your finger every time you try to text? Get. it. fixed. I firmly believe that having broken and sad things around you is bad juju. Just get your shit fixed or throw it away (I mean, probably don’t throw away your phone, but you get it).
These are essentially no-brainers. Make your life more comfortable. Fix your broken shit. Get a hobby. But, sometimes you (and I) just need a little more permission to breathe, rest and indulge.