It’s only Tuesday but I want it to be the weekend. So I am remembering the hike I took and just how good it is to get outside and move, to have something to look forward to.
A fun way to keep people connected and get people outside:
Easter egg hunts are pretty much confined to people’s backyards this year—but Cadbury has created a lockdown solution for those who want to go further afield.
The Mondelez-owned chocolate brand, with the help of agency VCCP, has created a virtual Easter egg hunt using Google Maps.
Consumers can “hide” an egg anywhere on a map and then send a clue to loved ones to help them find it via email, link or WhatsApp. It is also offering people the chance to buy and send a real egg as a reward, when the virtual one is found.
The “Cadbury Worldwide Hide” experience aims to “connect people across the U.K. through the power of generosity,” the brand said.
To be perfectly honest, I usually think of the first two months of any new year as "ramp-up" time. I have learned that the dark, wet days of January and early February where I live are just no good for starting something new. Plus I’m usually still trying to clean up and decompress after the holidays. And that was true even in a pandemic year. Less family gatherings, but the logistics were still stressful. PLUS, we moved house! Also during a pandemic!
BUT, as the days get longer and warmer, and the ground is less likely to be a giant mud puddle, and frankly I’m less likely to accidentally step into a puddle of water on my floor tromped in from various household members and pets, I start thinking about what I can do to renew myself and come out of my winter hermitage. Plus lately I’ve just been thinking about how I can take better care of myself and do more things that make ME happy. And I’m using "take care of myself" broadly. I don’t mean eat healthier, although I should probably do that too. I just mean be things for me rather than anyone else. Not work, not my kids, not my husband, or even renters. Just me.
I started working on a list of things that would make me SOOOO happy. And they’re very…. eclectic. In fact many might find them odd. But that’s another thing I’m trying to do is own my unique interests and embrace what makes ME happy.
And yes, I realize that happiness is fleeting, that is the journey not the destination that truly makes us happy. But as much as I hate the term "fill my bucket" it’s very apt in describing something that we all need to do to sustain ourselves and not become shells of former humans.
So, with that aside…
Bucket List of Happiness:
1. Create beasties again. I used to make cute fabric monsters, and had great ambitions to return to ceramics. I think I need to renew that ambition.
2. Be on an episode of Sesame Street, or interview a Muppet. A true joy of mine during the pandemic has been watching Vanity Fair interviews with Sesame Street characters, and outtakes of guest stars on Sesame Street. I want in! Why can’t I dream big?!
3. More photography. I LOVE taking photos. And looking at historical photos. Seriously, I briefly considered doing my Master’s thesis on historical visual culture a la photographs. Glad I didn’t, but that’s how much it fascinates me. Capturing a moment in time. A feeling. A story. In one frame. If you dare argue it’s not an art I will smite you down!!!
4. Crafting in general. I enjoy making things with my hands, and I really want to start a new hobby, it’s more that I have SO many projects I just want to finish. Which leads me to…
5. TIME! TO! MYSELF! I have come to accept I need A LOT of quiet/down time. On the introvert/extrovert scale, I land somewhere in the hermit zone, which is surprising to many folks. I used to get enough quiet time before kids because my husband and I had different work schedules, so I’d have at least a couple of quiet hours to myself after work before he got home. Post kids…. not so much. I can’t remember the last time I’ve been able to use the bathroom by myself, when it wasn’t also 3:00 am. I did sort of have my commute, at least? Except for the stress of traffic and anxiety of needing to get home by a certain time to get the kids out of daycare or pay extra. But then COVID-19 hit. And I had no time. NONE. To myself. NONE! Walks were a small escape, but in the city you’re never really alone. Even in the park I had to worry about my safety. And not theoretically, I was verbally assaulted at least twice by homeless people in the park or my neighborhood. Since we moved to Bellingham, I’ve been slowly able to go on walks in places that are truly quiet and alone. But honestly I just need to embrace my need to d e c o m p r e s s. By myself. Crafting or other artistic endeavours are a good way for me to give myself quiet time while still feeling like I’m being "productive." Or creative. Or both.
6. Eating bizarre food. I mean, not that bizarre. Sushi. Odd ramen dishes. Ethiopian food. That sort of thing. I enjoy new culinary experiences. And frankly the ambiance of the restaurant makes a difference too. My great aunt would take us to the BEST French and Italian bistros in her neighborhood in San Francisco, and trying new things like squid ink pasta is just the right amount of adventure for me. 🙂
7. Travel. When that’s a thing again. It doesn’t have to be too far, really. We took the kids out to Wenatchee and Leavenworth during Covid and it was. THE BEST!
8. Physical exertion, my own way. I am sort of picky about this. I want to either go on a long hike (I’m trying to pick up trail running again since it’s basically just a faster hike), or hit/kick something. I like kickboxing, like a lot! I’m sure I look like a doofus doing it, but I don’t care. And that is the true sign of something you love! (I think).
9. Affirmations. I’m a sucker for a gold star. I am learning that I can technically just give them to myself. If I gave myself a gold star sticker on the chore list, I’m not joking I’d probably feel better about washing dishes.
10. Gardening. This is something I already do, but it’s a delicate balance of not wanting to take on too much work vs. wanting to see things grow. I am pretty deliberately not planting a vegetable garden in the plot of dirt at our new place (I’ll bet you a nickel there are two tomato plants in there by May), but I did plant a tree in a spot that desperately needed some natural restoration (ssshhhh!)
That’s a good place to stop for now. I hope that by writing these out and sharing these with the world I can hold myself accountable to actually doing them.
How do you hold yourself accountable for your own happiness, self care, whatever you like to call it? Let me know in the comments below.
As we close out the crazy year that was 2020, I think this is a great attitude towards processing the chaos of our lives and moving forward:
After this challenging year, Marina Abramović, perhaps the world’s most famous performance artist, recommends everyone vent their frustrations to a favorite tree in a public park. She tells you to hug one tightly for no less than 15 minutes and pour out your woes to it. Your angst will be “absorbed in the bark,” and you will feel “rejuvenated.” This is tree-hugging on a whole other level.
Abramović believes there is a degree of energy flow between us and our arboreal friends. “Complaining to the tree is also a way of getting energy out of the tree—to you. And healing you.”
I have had many walks this year where I’ve had to just stop and ponder life, whether it was next to a beach, a tree, or a stop sign.
Where do you go to vent?
A lot of people in my life seem to need a friend to reach out to them this week.
To send a virtual hug, to give a pep talk, to say "yeah, that guy IS a jerk!"
To just be reminded they’re not alone.
I’ve never been good about reaching out, but this week I’m trying harder. Not just because it’s Mental Health Day on October 10 (which it is) but just because we all need to be reminded that there’s someone out there thinking of us, especially now.
Who can you send a text to today to let them know you’re thinking of them? Even just a book or TV show that made you think of them? Or use it as an excuse to share a funny GIF you saw. 🥰
Me! I do!
So I made one.
It was a fun project and I certainly could have done more, but it’s a good first start.
The kids helped picked out the spot.
They were worried it might be too high up, but I pointed out fairies can fly, so it’s probably fine.
And we’ll keep working on it, maybe put a deck up for the fairies to land on.
This was inspired both by my daughter’s love of building fairy houses right now, and by my discovery of the Tiny Doors of Atlanta.
I love miniatures in general, and would love to go check those out someday! And make some of my own.
Sometimes enriching moments are the quietest ones; the times we find ourselves alone, quiet, with nothing to do or think about other than what is immediately in front of you. A meditation on what is happening now.
I got to experience that tonight. I have been working from home this week and so my normal routines have been disturbed, meaning I have not been taking my normal short walks in the morning and afternoon. The first time I really got to go walk tonight was after the kids were asleep, just after 8pm. It seemed late but I needed to get out, so I strapped on my sneakers and jacket and headed out the door.
I walked briskly to stay warm, although the air was not as cold as I had expected. The street lights were enough that I did not need a flashlight, but still dark enough that I felt the blanket of dark surround me.
There is something much more meditative about going for a walk late at night rather than staying inside and exercising to a TV or on a treadmill. I breathed in the air deeply, smelling the wood fire smoke coming from a fireplace. I could feel the quiet of the night envelop me, I could hear only my own breath, and feel the solitude of the night.
It reminded me a little bit of staying out late in high school and community college. We lived near a beach town, and on summer nights we’d stay out on the beach until well after it officially closed, basking in the dark and fog and solitude and freedom.
I ended up not being the only one out this evening, but with a nod and a smile, all half dozen of us seemed to silently acknowledge that we were each aware of the comfortable quiet companionship of the night.
Sometimes the quietest activities are the most enriching. I need to try and find other opportunities for it.
What has worked for you? What are your quiet enrichment moments? A cup of coffee? Driving home in the car? Knitting? I’d love to get some more ideas. Leave it in the comments below.
Books make us think, feel, and wonder.
Illustration by Ezra Jack Keats via Every Child A reader
Carl Sagan (1934-1996), astronomer and book lover:
“What an astonishing thing a book is. It’s a flat object made from a tree with flexible parts on which are imprinted lots of funny dark squiggles. But one glance at it and you’re inside the mind of another person, maybe somebody dead for thousands of years. Across the millennia, an author is speaking clearly and silently inside your head, directly to you.
Writing is perhaps the greatest of human inventions, binding together people who never knew each other, citizens of distant epochs. Books break the shackles of time. A book is proof that humans are capable of working magic.”
~excerpt from the 11th episode of Carl Sagan’s 1980s Cosmos series, titled “The Persistence of Memory”
More information about this illustration at http://www.rmichelson.com/Artist_Pages/keats/Ezra-Jack-Keats.html
- Taking photos
- Getting outside into nature
- Creating playful spaces
- Creating experiences that can be shared
- Designing home spaces or outdoor spaces
What are the things that make you feel not just happy, but fulfilled, truly that feeling of inspiration and completeness?
Focusing on designing and making a city kid-friendly has been found to be make a city more friendly and usable for all!
Authors: Tim Gill, Adrian Voce, Darell Hammond and Mariana Brussoni
Cities around the world are failing children. 30 years after the launch of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child – which aimed to make children’s needs and views central in policy making – most cities are hostile if not life-threatening places for their youngest inhabitants.
The global death toll of children on the roads is surely the most shocking illustration of the failure of urban planning. Road traffic is the leading global cause of death among people aged 15–29, and the second highest single cause of death for children aged 5–14.
Ciudad Bolivar, Bogota
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