What do I wish to accomplish?
Of course I want to lose weight and exercise and clean the house and take better care of my skin. And also, of course, write another book.
But on a day-to-day basis. I want to think.
And I want those thoughts to go to work. Maybe not go to work. To come out to play.
A while back I wrote about how I measure whether my day is successful. I have a checklist to ensure that I have done something good for
- My home
- My body
- My mind
- My work
- For someone else
- For sheer pleasure
That is a pretty reliable checklist.
For this new year, I am going to simplify it even more.
Every day: I want to THINK.
Think of something nice to say and say it.
I have long believed that every day we have opportunities to say nice things – to pay sincere compliments. To say, “What a good idea!” or “I love your shoes” or “You have been a great help to me.”
I saw a story on the internet of a woman who was trolled and harassed and ridiculed because she posted a photo of herself – and she is very overweight. To every person who harassed her, she answered with something nice about them. “I love that shade of lipstick on you!” “Your name is so cool!” etc. She wrote later than some people actually apologized, but many did not. And she said, “Maybe it didn’t do them any good at all… but I felt better.” Saying nice things does indeed make you feel better.
Think of something nice to do and do it.
I like to paint. But to do that I need to remind myself to do it. Sometimes we need to remind ourselves of lots of nice things we can do. Because it is so easy to forget. Today, when I took the dog out, I did not also check my email, which I often do. Or even take his photo. With him being so cute, I take pictures almost every day. I can’t help myself. And although it is nice to do, something that is even nicer – is to just watch him be cute. To know that he is being cute just for me. To give him my total attention.
And tomorrow, I will bring lunch over to my mother. That’s easy. I already love doing that. But on the way, I will stop at the warming center and donate my old parka. Something nice to do. And I can.
Think of something nice to feel and feel it.
I don’t mean that in the physical sense, although that counts too. My kitten Thor is so warm and soft. Just holding him while he snuggles on my lap is a sweet sensation.
But I mean feeling a nice emotion. For New Year’s Eve, my husband came home with several pounds of king crab legs. Nice! When we put them on to boil, he commented on the old enamel stockpot. “Remember when we bought this?” he asked. And I did. We were just married and vacationing on the cheap in a small cottage in Rhode Island. We bought lobster and went to the local hardware store for this big pot. And every time we take it out, we remember our vacation. And feel that pleasure all over again.
Think of something nice to eat and eat it.
It doesn’t have to be king crab legs… though it’s pretty nice when it is. But as I just recently discovered – but should have known a long time ago – mindless eating is such a waste. After I eat something, I often don’t even remember eating it. I need to slow down. Savor.
Yesterday, I made popovers. I hadn’t made them in a very long time. I was kind of stressed, thinking about all the ways they could go wrong. And eating the first half of my popover, I was judging it and judging myself. Was it light enough? Cooked enough? Cooked too much? But I managed to stop. With the second half of my popover, I felt the airiness on my tongue, the perfect moist egginess. The popover-i-ness.
Yogurt is creamy, Peanuts are crunchy, Olives are salty. And coffee is heavenly. How lucky are we that we have such wonders to enjoy?
Think of something great to wear and wear it.
I know I am a bit of a broken record on this subject. But so many people dress in any old thing. It saddens me to think that they don’t enjoy the beauty and pleasure of clothes – a lovely color or a luxurious material. Shop with discrimination. Don’t say “good enough”. If you need a new sweater, buy one you love. If you only buy what you love, pretty soon your closet will be filled only with things you love, and you can wear something you love every single day. Even if it’s sweatpants – buy the soft ones.
Today I wore warm leggings to my yoga class. They are a crazy print of coral and jade and purple. All my other leggings are black or grey. These colorful ones were just what I needed.
I already know that tomorrow – when I visit my mother – I am going to wear the soft oversized pale pink sweater with my faded jeans. I can hardly wait. How nice is that – to be so happy thinking about a sweater? And how easy.
Think about something nice to listen to and listen to it.
With my popover (and yummy prime rib) dinner, I played my husband’s favorite – Roy Orbison. His plaintive unearthly voice broke through all the busyness and activities of the day. We had to put down our forks during “Blue Bayou” and just take it in.
Tonight while writing this, I put on Yo-Yo Ma playing Saint-Saens’ “The Swan.” And stopped typing.
Whether it’s Pit Bull or Judy Garland or La Traviata – we live in a world of music so accessible and yet so often taken for granted. Choose to listen.
Think about something nice to see and see it.
Sometimes you can plan this. Sometimes it just happens. But you have to SEE it.
When I dusted today, I picked up old brass candlesticks, a porcelain cat, a vase in the shape of a horse, a photograph of my husband as a baby, a heavy glass paperweight, a wrought-iron toy cash register that I use for a bookend. I am surrounded by beautiful things. I have joy in my house every day. It waits for me to see it.
And the unexpected beauty is just as wondrous. Be ready for it.