Lose Yourself in the Things You Love
The other night while I was walking home from work, I was racking my brain for upcoming blog content. I have a whole spreadsheet of content ideas, but none of it felt right that week. Before I knew it, I was home and in front of my computer, trying to figure out what to write about. After staring at my computer for a solid five minutes, I stopped. I gave up for the night. I turned off my computer, took a look at one of my bookshelves, and changed the course of my evening.
Oftentimes we get so incredibly caught up in expectations: I NEED to post something tomorrow. I MUST meet that deadline. I NEED to lose five more pounds. I absolutely HAVE to fix x, y and z in order for things to be on the right track. I fully support staying consistent with your blog, meeting work deadlines and maintaining a healthy lifestyle (read: healthy), but who is setting these expectations? Obviously work deadlines are a different story, but I have been thinking about, more than ever, this notion of expectations at the expense of personal happiness.
If you know me well, you know I’m an avid reader. I love books. I love physical books—the look of a new row of books on a shelf, the smell of the paper, turning a page, all of it. I set a personal goal of reading at least three books each month, but I am going to be transparent here: it’s been more than a month since I’ve finished a book. If you know me well, you know how absurd that is.
How many of you have allowed external stressors and expectations get in the way of things, activities and people you love? Think about the last time you truly made time for yourself and your passions. Why do we allow this? Why do we allow ourselves to fall deeper and deeper into things that potentially make us unhappy simply because they’re taking us away from things that do make us happy?
Goals are important. Meeting deadlines is important. Building a successful career is important. However, none of that matters if you are not happy. It’s as simple as that. The moment you lose sight of things and experiences that make you happy is the moment your life begins to unravel. But the good news is, you can get back on track. You can take steps to ensure you’re taking care of yourself, and it starts with asking, “What have I done recently that truly made me happy?”
For me, it’s reading, playing with my dog, exploring San Francisco with my husband, writing letters to my friends (yes—snail mail), and speaking with my family. It’s working on this blog, writing the first draft of my book, exploring a new arena of history, experimenting with new at-home coffee recipes, thumbing through Darling Magazine, getting involved with a charitable organization I feel passionately about and indulging in new candles (currently obsessed with Bijou Candles). It's also feeling confident in my abilities at work, thanks to how clearly I'm able to focus because I'm taking care of myself and my well-being.
Remember, you can’t entirely give yourself to something if you’re not fully yourself. So cheesy, but so true.
In case you missed it, here's my holiday reading list. I intend to make a solid dent in this list by 2016.
What activities, experiences or passions do you engage in that make you feel more like yourself? I’d love to hear from you!
Book: The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah
Small candle: Bijou Candles (get 15 percent off your order with code HerStoryBijou)
Bigger candle: Darling
Table: Nebraska Furniture Mart, sold out, similar
Coffee mug: Anthropologie
Table lamp: Target, sold out, similar