Thanks to Tattooed Mummy for tagging me to blog about the things that “you just can’t be happy without having them in your day-to-day life”. It’s really made me think about what truly makes me happy. I suspect I would have answered this question differently when I was younger, it’s taken me some living to figure some of this out!
The first thing that came to mind. Anyone who knows me through work is surprised to find out I’m not an extrovert, because I use up all my extrovert at work. Outside work, I need time to centre and recharge or I get strung out real quick. The more that’s going on for me, the more time I need for myself. Luckily, writing is the perfect foil.
Children and animals
I don’t have children of my own and have never wanted them but spending time around children or animals or, better, children and animals, is definitely a non-negotiable for me. I’m a terrible influence, I like to be stupid and make noise and mess with kids, but luckily I have a few friends who’ll let me hang out with their kids. At parties, I’m the one hanging out with the dog.
Literally and metaphorically, I have a magpie heart. I love disco balls and diamantes and glitter and I think it’s marvellous that little kids get to dress up in shiny things just to go to the shops these days. Everyone should get to sparkle!
But my brain also loves novelty. I have an insatiable appetite for new information, new ideas, new stories, new experiences. Social media is a huge time suck for me because it is a vast and endless flow of opportunity to learn, I can just mainline novelty directly into my brain, 24/7. I am, however, self-aware enough to know that social media itself is not a non-negotiable for happiness. I feed my brain with outings and I love to make plans for trips because both the research and the experience satisfy me.
I went without for a period of years once but in hindsight it was because celibacy was easier than navigating the quagmire of ‘sluttery’ (a story for another day). What a waste of my youth! I’m all for biological determinism on this topic: turns out we (humans generally but women especially) are pleasure machines by design. We won the lottery of life, make the most of it!
Using my body
I am just learning this lesson. Puberty alienated me from my body and by senior high school I was more exercised by trying to get out of PE than I was in class. I’ve had various “get fit spurts” over the years but as I’ve got older injuries closed off various options and I for awhile I just…stopped. In the last 6 months I’ve started getting regular exercise again and of course I feel so much better for it…but not just physically. I ‘get’ now how important it is to your mental wellbeing.
Singing along to music, especially cheesy pop, lifts my heart every time. And my waistline is testament to the pleasure good food gives me. And of course, I love stories, but you knew that.
So that’s my list…what’s on yours? I want to know what StupidGirl45 thinks. If this topic interests you and you’d like me to tag you, let me know.