Sunday, October 13, 2013

Singing Hearts

Sometimes I realize that there’s a disconnect between how I think I am or what I think I like or feel motivated by and what is actually the truth.

I think I don’t like change. I’ve always said that I hate it. When I really pay attention, though, I know that I crave change and I thrive when I learn and try new things.

I thought I didn’t like the outdoors. I’m a city girl. Then I moved to New Mexico and discovered that being outside in the nature is one of my greatest joys. I learned that a day spent in a canyon or on top of a mountain or floating down a river makes me much happier than spending time in a city.

When I was studying abroad, we were all encouraged to work at internships and volunteer jobs. I worked at the French American Center, where, as you can imagine, I mostly chatted in English with my co-workers. The work we were tasked with was pretty meaningless, but we did get to plan fun parties. My other job was volunteering as an English tutor at the Secours Catholique. I dreaded going to that job. It was on the other side of the tracks (literally) and a far walk from home and I got home late in the dark. I always had lots of reasons why I didn’t want to go, but I made myself go twice a week. The thing about that job, though, is that it gave me unbelievable energy and satisfaction. I worked with lots of different kids depending on who needed help that night. They were so excited to see me and work with me, and the lady who ran the center was always appreciative for my help. For as much as I dreaded going, I always left with a spring in my step, a huge smile on my face and electricity shooting through my body. The satisfaction of teaching someone something and helping them really understand it is so fulfilling. I’d leave there and walk home a happy lady. If I had listened to myself at the time, I probably would have pursued teaching.

I had the chance again a few years later when I was working in France as an English teacher in elementary schools. I loved teaching, but something in my head, that rational, pragmatic voice, told me to pursue a career in planning instead. If I had listened to my heart, I would be an elementary school teacher, and I’d probably have lots of frustrations with that as well, but I think it would make me happy.

The point of all this is to listen to the things that make your heart sing. The big things and the little things that give us joy and excitement and energy. The little things, most importantly, because they add up to great joy. I’m committing to paying attention, finding those things that give me energy and pleasure and consciously pursuing them.

Fun Photo Booth Photos? Yes, please!!
Here’s just a few of the things on my list:

Cuddling and playing with Elsa
Exercising, sweating, losing my breath and drinking lots of cold water
Being outside in fresh air
Hiking to the top of a mountain
Watching the sunrise
Genuinely thanking someone for kind actions
Trying a new recipe, making food for friends and family
Sitting in the hot springs on the Chama, preferably with cold rain drops on my back
Skiing a new or difficult run
Being by the sea and being in the salt water
Katy Perry dance parties in the kitchen
Laughing really hard

What are some of the things on your list?


  1. Wow.... My list? Sheesh! I don't know?! I need to think about this. I just wrote a post about happiness. Hum..... Your lust sounded damn good! Let me think about mine.

    1. I think it's a good exercise to do often. For me, it really helps keep me grounded and present rather than getting caught up in the day to day.

  2. List LoL...list not lust!! Haha

  3. This is lovely. It reminds me of the end of Manhattan when Woody Allen starts dictating a list of things that make life worthwhile and thinks of Mariel Hemingway's face and runs all the way to her apartment to find her leaving for Europe, and she proves again that she's more mature than the other, much older, characters in the story.

    I like walking and sitting by rivers, eating warm cherry tomatoes straight off the vine, cuddling under layers of blankets on a cold night, dancing to polka music, cooking for people I love, watching kids realize they're doing something well, listening to people talk about work they're passionate about, and butter (everything about it). Thanks for reminding us to think about these things!

  4. Being up early with a cup of coffee, getting to decide how I will spend the day (I just realized this! and matters A LOT!), going for a great run, spending time outdoors in the trees and near water, having the whole house cleaned and organized (I can think better!), spending an afternoon in the kitchen, road trips! laughing at ridiculous things

    great list!

    1. Deciding how I will spend the day - YES!

      I love a clean and organized house too. When it's cluttered or messy, it impacts my ability to focus.

      And, road trips bring out the most laughing at ridiculous things! The last time we drove to Portland, by the time we had crossed into Oregon, we started writing our own animal jokes and we were laughing so hard we were crying. When we got to Andrew's parents' house and started telling them all of our hilarious jokes, I think they thought we were delirious.


Hey, thank you!

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