What makes me happy is having PLANS (and not lesson plans either)... things that are fun or rewarding. Places to go. Things to do. People to meet. THOSE kind of plans. Just looking at the calendar and seeing activities penciled in makes me smile.
I am realizing that I don't have to add "See the world" to my bucket list to be happy. Sitting on a beach in Hawaii sounds wonderful, but if I immerse myself in the moment, it isn't any better than sitting on my deck listening to the owl in our pine tree. Think of the money I'll save! There is so much of life to be enjoyed right here in my own backyard, so to speak.
The thing that makes me happiest is doing things with those I love, whether we're trying something new or revisiting old traditions. If I'm honest, any time I'm actively engaged in something other than sitting on my butt, I'm pretty happy.
Can you believe I am 52 years old, and until last week, I had never had a pedicure? That was one of my new life experiences.
I had never had Indian food until my college roommates and I met in Denver last weekend, and I really liked it. How I regret making decisions about Indian cuisine based on comments others had made to me, "Indian food is too spicy" or "It's too hot." I don't think I'll ever be a guest on Bizarre Foods, but count on me to at least taste something unfamiliar. (I've eaten Rocky Mountain Oysters, so you know I'm good for the occasional international meal.)
I recently had my third acupuncture treatment. Let me tell you: I am so impressed. My shoulder feels like it belongs to a thirty year old who hasn't wrecked it falling down stairs, crashing in a three car pileup on the interstate, and tumbling down the ski slopes, not a 52 year old who has done all of those things. I can't believe that the incessant dull ache is gone. That was the first day I hadn't had to ice my back. Who knew? I'm glad I was brave enough to try it. "Nothing ventured, nothing gained" is turning out to be very true!
Last weekend, I took my son and niece to see Stomp, a percussion performing group from England. Stomp has been on my radar for several years, so when I heard they were in the area, I jumped at the chance to get tickets. The kids loved it. I had a hard time sitting still during the performance because the rhythms were captivating. My niece even commented on Facebook that she was "mind-blown."
Bridger and I rode the train down to Salt Lake City to meet my niece for our evening at Stomp. We missed our transfer to the light rail system, and I will admit I went into panic mode temporarily. This was my first time being the grownup in charge of transportation, and I had seriously blown it. Bridger was the voice of reason and calm. As it turns out, we were only 15 minutes late, and my worst fears about Tatiana were laid to rest when we found out a friend of hers was on HER light rail car, and waited with her until we arrived. I learned so much by stepping out of my comfort zone.
Last night I tried a book study group. I wasn't able to attend the first two meetings, but swallowed my pride and showed up tonight. I am so glad I went. Besides knowing two of the women in the group, I now have two new friends in our town.
One of my most enjoyable activities is following up with the phrase, "Let's do lunch." I have always seen that as an empty invitation that, more often than not, evaporates into nothing. I have taken my friendships seriously and followed through lately. The results have been delightful. Meeting a Facebook friend for the first time when she flew into Utah. An early morning visit to an old neighbor's house. Lunch at Chipotle with one of the girls from my husband's high school days. Inviting ladies over to the house for lunch. Dropping in on another retired colleague after taking Bridge to school. I'm not going to wait for "one day" any more. One day is here. One day is today. I don't want to waste it!
What sounds fun to you? The possibilities are endless, and don't have to cost a cent. Attend a social event in your town. Check on a friend or relative in a nursing home. Visit a friend you haven't seen for awhile. Send a thank you letter to express your gratitude to one of your role models. Find an old girlfriend on Facebook. (Unless you're a man, and then I think you better stick to finding old buddies. Seriously.) Play with the grandkids. Meet a friend for coffee to catch up. Plant some mums in your flower bed for fall. Take your camera on a photo safari, and let your eyes wander until you find a subject worth shooting.
Be open to new experiences. Revisit old favorites. Look at your calendar. Pick one of the next seven dates and make a plan to do something you've been wanting to do. Have fun with it!