Happy thoughts

Since a writing prompt for today was about what makes me happy, and since I have been working really hard this week on job applications and other tasks that are not necessarily immediately rewarding… I figured I ought to make a list of ten things that make me happy. I wonder if I can actually come up with ten. In no particular order:

1. Spending time with Jon. While it might seem obvious that spending time with one's significant other might make one happier, it feels quite honestly awesome to spend time with Jon. He challenges me in good ways to be a better person and we do have good times together even when the activities might be mundane. I think that the ability to enjoy one's self even while doing things that aren't exciting is essential to a relationship.

2. Reading a good book. Sometimes it seems that I don't read enough these days, and while I know that some people might not regard my choices in reading material to be to their liking, I'm really quite happy that the 50 Book Pledge has encouraged me to pick up and complete reading a lot more books this year than last year. Sure, a lot of these books might be short, or graphically intense rather than traditional novels, but it's the act of reading good works that I enjoy. Sometimes books challenge me in all sorts of different ways and you know what, that's often a good thing.

3. Eating delicious food. Yelp, spending time with friends, Jon's cooking, and Twitter are all things that have encouraged me to do this in recent times. I happen to be really enamored with the sense of taste and good food really does make me happier. It doesn't have to be high end, or expensive, or even fancy looking but if it suits my tastebuds, I'm happier for it.

4. Accomplishing things. I really do like checking things off on my mental to-do list. Getting something done, really done is a sensation that I rather appreciate. When I was a graduate student, we often said better done than good and there's some truth to that. While perfectionist tendencies are sometimes rather useful, just the ability to say something's done and being able to move on is something rather awesome in my books.

5. Physical activity. Sure, I'm a pretty sedentary adult as far as one might describe many of my daily activities… but the sensation of lifting weights, hiking a mountain, finishing a nice long walk, or dancing just feels great. I know my limitations and they're pretty unique to me, but it does feel rather fabulous to get the heart going and the muscles moving!

6. Trying new things. I'm not the most adventurous person on earth, certainly, but I do really enjoy challenging myself to do something new. Sure I might fail a lot of the time, but that's some of the fun of trying, I guess.

7. Playing games. Now I know there are exceptions to this rule (like when I'm brought nearly to tears because of the actions of other game players), but on the whole, game playing feels great. It's a good challenge to my mind (and occasionally body) to play games like video games, card games, RPGs, board games, etc. I don't have to win (though it's nicer if it's a competitive game to be evenly matched) but it's certainly fun.

8. Traveling. I think part of the appeal of traveling is that of trying something new for the very first time and getting outside of my comfort zone. I enjoy exploring new places and trying local pass times, foods, and haunts that I can't visit here. This doesn't mean that traveling is perfect (spending the night in airports, dealing with cultural mores that are uncomfortable, and other hazards of travel do occasionally put a wrench in the works), but I do enjoy it. I enjoy it best when not completely alone, which is one reason why I've enjoyed so much conference/convention travel and one big reason why I'm excited for the JoCo Cruise in February even though I'm attending by myself: surrounding myself with people of similar interests always makes travel better even if I do head out on my own.

9. Spending time with friends and family. There's something really amazing when it comes to mental and physical health when it comes to spending time with folks who matter to one's self. A hug, a smile, some good encouraging words and time spent together in conversation are all things that make me happy.

10. Mail. I've typed this many times over the years, of course, but I do rather love Canada Post and the ability to go check my mailbox and find goodies within. A postcard from Postcrossing, a package from RedditGifts, a monthly care package, or a handwritten note or letter… all of these things (And even some of the more business-like things I occasionally get in my mailbox) make me quite happy. Part of it is the surprise of receiving anything at all and the joy of discovering what might be within, but part of it is just that moment of enjoyment that someone was thinking of me and that I'm connected to the greater world at large. Sometimes social media fills that void, sometimes email works well too, but physical mail is oh so much more tangible.

Well there's my list of 10 things that make me happy. There are of course many more… but this is a good indication of some of what makes me grin.