Friday, March 29, 2013

I Like Myself Best When I...

So it's been rainy and I've been grumpy, but I do have a few things to be proud of this week:

1- I told the yoga teacher who had us listen to jarring music that while I normally like such music, I'd prefer something a little more mellow for the pm flow class instead of just passive aggressively holding it in.

2- When I stayed up WAY too late one night I used that time to clean out my drawers & filing cabinets.

3- I did go to bed on time one night this week.

4- I've gotten a little work done on my dissertation, even though it hasn't been always easy.

5- I graded all of my students' close readings in one day.

6- I went to happy hour with the admitted visiting students, even though it would have been easy to just go home.

7- I was able to say "no" to something I really wanted to do on Saturday because I knew I had prior commitments and I didn't want to over-schedule myself.

8-Had a really interesting, open and personable conversation with 2 of my colleagues about the religious climate on campus.

9-Bought and hung light-blocking curtains in my room AND returned all parts that I didn't need.

These are not inconsequential, but when I think about how "me-yugh" this week has felt, I'm able to better articulate the me I'd like to be, the person I like being best.

So, here's my list of what I like to see me doing:
  • Go to bed early, wake up early. Largely because when I wake up early I do these things: workout, write, study, read scriptures. When I go to bed late, I tend to do these things: eat crap, chain-watch TV on Netflix, make baked goods...okay, it's not all bad, but I always hate myself in the morning after I stay up to all hours alone with my low self-control.
  • Exercise & eat well. I think this goes along nicely with going to bed early. Rest, exercise and nutrition. I think it's cool that the Church recognizes a spirit-body connection, and I feel it in other aspects of my life, too, social and academic. I like myself a lot better when I'm taking care of my body.
  • Real pondering, real studying. When I took the bus to school 3-4 times a week, I blocked out the first half of the trip, probably 20 minutes, for scripture study, which was nice because I could look out the window and ponder, take notes on my phone's scriptures and listen to spiritual music. I can cross "scripture study" off my list in easier ways (this last week, I looked up a verse at a crosswalk and called it good), but I like when I'm actively engaged in a topic or question.
  • Work hard and get things done. These, sadly, are not synonymous. Sometimes I feel like I'm working, working, working, but I'm not making any progress--prospectus, anyone?--and while I know that it's nothing to do with me, per se, I don't feel as happy as when I can see clear improvement.
  • Make and maintain meaningful connections. I have a lot of acquaintances, but I love when things slip over into friendships. This doesn't happen without a lot of conversation, focused eye contact, remembering details about people's lives. A good low-multitasking conversation with my sister, for example, is much better than a lot of "mm"s and "is that so"s as I type to a colleague talking from across the room.
  • Keep my space clean. Whether it's my house, my office, or my car, I do feel better when my surroundings are tidy. It doesn't have to be 100% perfect, but I feel more energized and prepared when things are clean. If I spend just 10-15 minutes, my apartment is small enough that I can get some real cleaning in and I always feel better when I do.

So there you have it. That's all it takes: wake up early and workout, spend 20 minutes on scriptures, 15 minutes on cleaning, check a few things off my list and have a decent conversation. That doesn't seem like such an unobtainable road to happiness. It's funny that it should be so difficult to obtain.

What about you? What does it take for you to feel pleased with your day? What are you happiest when you're doing regularly in your life?


Rachel Helps said...

My life is really unstructured so it really helps me to have some kind of routine so I actually get stuff done.

Sara said...

I think most people feel this same way about life. Working, staying healthy, being tidy -- they are all essential to happiness. (I really think "being tidy" should be in Maslow's hierarchy of needs.) It's so hard to do all of these basic things, though; however, I think all of these are areas where a little really does go a long way. I was thinking, for example, that instead of devoting entire mornings or days to cleaning, I should starting setting a timer every day or every other day for maybe 20 minutes, and use that to tidy up. Twenty minutes isn't a lot, but I think it would change my life in dramatic ways, actually.

And finally, we should grab some frozen yogurt sometime. Just you and me. I'm not sure when yet, but I'll text or call you about it soon. :)