books, wellness

The Happiness List

Right, I know that I’ve been a bit of a moaning Myrtle lately. The last two weeks of school/last two weeks of planning for my camps/ordering materials/getting ready to print for Fall/sewing things up totally before I leave for England, have meant that I have been so preoccupied that I have barely cracked a grin lately. But, as hectic as things are, life isn’t too bad, and I actually function better when I’m busy, idle hands…devils work etc, you know the saying.

I thought that for this post I would focus on the things that have been making me happy (on the inside, I know my outside looks tired and grumpy!) over the past few weeks.

1.Planning my Vacation
Was it Thomas Wolfe who said “You can’t go home again”? Well he was wrong. I can, and I will. Despite being very happy in the US, I miss London so much sometimes, that I feel a physical ache for it. I’m ridiculously excited to share my beautiful city with my husband and kids. Even though it has sort of become a second home for my kids, and they have their own favorite things to do in London, I can’t wait to take them to the museums, and parks, and show them places that mean so much to me. I can’t wait to be able to get a decent cup of tea, and go shopping in Marks and Spencers, and say things like “you’re bloody having me on!” without getting strange stares. I can’t wait to take the bus or tube everywhere, to see pavements on every street and, of course, I can’t wait to see my parents again.

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Neals Yard, London

2.Turning 40
Yup. This is the year I join the big leagues. Forty has always seemed like a good age to be for me. People always seem so much better, so much, for want of a better word, much-er,  (thanks Mad Hatter) after they turn forty. I’m waiting for a shed load of wisdom and muchness to hit me anytime soon. I’m ready for it. Already, just the thought of turning forty has made me approach life in a whole different, more daring way, and the year has been better for it. To celebrate this most momentous birthday, I’m spending a few days in Paris, flaunting my fine, almost-forty self. I shall sit outside cafes filling my arteries with liquid chocolate and eating croissants, and soak in the lovely muchness of it all (with my family beside me, of course).

3.Escapism: Okay, you’ve heard me say this before, but books are the mostest of the most when it comes to keeping this lady content. Having a good book to tuck into, an alternative world to retreat into now and then, actually helps me to be more chilled out and pleasant in the real world. Whenever I can’t go anywhere, and am stuck in the same surroundings for too long, I do my traveling through books.Over the past few weeks I have been immersed in All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doering, and The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah, both of which I strongly recommend to lovers of good, meaty fiction. I’m currently reading NW by Zadie Smith, also a great read, and The Penderwicks series which, although it is a children’s series, is comfort reading that reminds me of Jane Austen  (sorry, I’m no good at book reviews, I always worry that  I’d be diminishing the book if I wrote too much about it).

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More book recommendations!

4.Time travel: I have been connecting with many old friends lately. I visited an old work place and met colleagues and friends whose company I have missed sorely. Working from home, can make you forget how many kindred souls you really have in your life, it’s good to have a reminder from time to time. Soon, I’ll see even older friends when I visit London. I’m guessing embarrassing memories will be dug up along with the good ones, but It will still be wonderful. Note to self: no man is an island.

Indulging my inner child: Like any other mom I have my moments of ‘Leave me alone! Why are you taking so long to do everything? Why is my house always a mess! Aarrgh!!!! 
But, most of the time I love hanging out with my kids. Part of this is because I still like doing things that I did when I was a kid. My somewhat stunted maturity makes me an excellent playmate for my kids when there is no better option around. Here are some things I have done over the past week that have given me more pleasure than I should really admit to: riding a scooter really fast down a hill, then panicking and dive bombing into a bush; almost destroying my house with nerf guns; building ice cream sundaes with as many colors as possible, because everything should be rainbow colored; watching Zootopia, REALLY enjoying it, and then quoting parts of the dialogue with my daughter over and over again;  speaking in a fake Russian accent for a whole day. I can hear my husband’s exasperated sighs right now. Worry not, this won’t last long. I’m turning forty soon, apparently wisdom, inner calm and maturity are winding their way towards me even as I type this.

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Drinking from public fountains? YES!

Working for Free
Like many of you, I too like to earn money.It is shiny and pretty, and it helps you buy cool things such as food, clothes, and the latest sparkly Gellyroll marker set at my local art store. However, I do often volunteer my time as well, and this makes me feel a different kind of happy. Recently, I helped teach a workshop on graphic design at a friend’s school, I set up a sixties themed art night at my son’s school, and I helped a neighbor make props for a eighties themed school event. Also, I work out with a bunch of 5-7 year olds at a PE club every Wednesday morning, it keeps them laughing; and this week I am going to help my daughter’s class learn about fashion in the fifties (nostalgia seems to be a thing this year!).
I’ll never forget that it was volunteering in schools that actually led me to becoming a teacher in the first place. The great thing about volunteering is that it can lead to unexpected inspiration, and a great deal of learning (those PE sessions gave me a lot of ideas for my summer camps, and the graphic design workshop forced me to get better at making slideshow presentations). Also, you meet some lovely people, and do good things. You can’t go wrong.

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Volunteering at schools – Sixties Art Night
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Volunteering at schools – Sixties Art Night
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Volunteering at schools – Sixties Art Night
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Project for a friend

This list could keep going, but I realize how much I have spewed out. I’ll save the rest for another post. Later, friends!

About Author

Artist, Educator, Parent, Small Business Owner, Big kid from a big city, in a small town.

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