So far for my month of love all I’ve talked about are the people I love. (Yes, I’m grouping my Angel and the squatter as people.) There are a lot of things that I love too: books, chocolate, pretty much any sort of baked good – but I wanted to give a shout out to all of the things that are most likely to be missed or not even considered. I feel like in life and in relationships, it’s all of those little, by themselves insignificant, things that make the world of difference.
Sometimes these little things are small random acts of kindness. Other times they’re a sense of physical or mental relief, whether or not that relief was unexpected. Sometimes it’s a small memento or memory, or an idea presenting itself before you act on it. Maybe it’s a sudden feeling for no explicable reason at all. These things are the same as small hits of joy or little things I’m grateful for – because I know I’ve written about both.
Here are just a few “little things” that I recognize as some of the little things that I love because they brought me joy or relief and therefore I am thankful.
1 – The two days in February when it was seventy-something degrees. It’s February and I live in Colorado so that is not normal, but goodness was it glorious!
2 – Brainstorming sessions over an idea you’re passionate about with people you care about.
3 – Kind of the same, but also different: Seeing other people get excited over your idea and not just because you’re the one who thought of it.
4 – Peeing after holding it for close to three hours. All right, that may seem kind of gross but it’s also universal. That physical relief is enormous and after a date and my aversion to public bathrooms I was reminded of just how wonderful that feeling is. I promise this is the only bodily function little thing on this list. 😉
5 – Long hot showers. Okay, not a bodily function but the last “risqué” thing on this list for more conservative readers. But the reason this is on this list is not physical at all – it’s 100% mental. For some reason I do my best thinking in the shower. Ideas for books, essays and even poetry pound against me like the water itself. If I have a problem, I get my clearest potential solutions in the shower. If I’m being proactive or organizing something – the shower is where I shine. I don’t know what it is, but showers are where I find inspiration, the best ideas and do the hard thinking/reflecting to solve a problem or personal hurt.
6 – Flavored Coffee Drinks. If you know me at all, you know that coffee is like life’s blood to me. It’s comforting, relaxing, gives me a kick in the butt when I need it and helps me get in “the zone” (and it’s impossible to get in the zone without it). But unlike my husband, I don’t like straight-up coffee. Instead, I like flavored lattes and mochas. It’s because I have a serious sweet tooth, and I love all the different combinations. Whenever I hear of a new one that sounds interesting, even if I’m fairly certain I won’t like it (Red Velvet Latte) I have to try it though I always come back to my favorites (Turtle Mocha, Tuxedo Mocha [white chocolate, dark chocolate, raspberry], and Sugar Mountain Pie Latte [brown sugar cinnamon, caramel, white chocolate]). Thank goodness for flavored lattes and mochas. I’m forever grateful for their daily presence in my life!
7 – Chocolate Truffles. I love chocolate, like I have a serious addiction, but in the last year I have gained more and more appreciation for chocolate truffles. They’re small, delicious and simple. If I ever need a chocolate fix, but feel full, I can just pop one, and I’m good to go. 🙂
8 – Oil and Vinegar. At first it might sound weird, and of course I think about all those couple comparison clichés (yes, Roy and I would be consider oil and vinegar, with me as the vinegar 😛 ), but after visiting this specialty foods shop, I have a new appreciation for oil and vinegar (as in for dipping). We bought a lot of interesting ones (Serrano Honey Vinegar and Cayenne Chili Pepper Oil is my favorite combination) and while I’m not usually a big bread person, consider me converted now! What a great treat for a date night in, a warm up to any dinner or just a casual snack. It’s so easy and so, so good.
9 – Making Pasta. I got Roy a pasta maker for Christmas and since then we have made pasta three times. At first, it was a fun and new experience and now that it’s not really new – it’s still fun. And the best part? Our noodles are so good! Like I thought I wouldn’t taste a difference or ours wouldn’t be as good since it’s not like we’re experienced pasta makers but no – it’s such a difference I haven’t been able to bring myself to go back to the pre-packaged kind. I love making pasta because it also makes me feel “together” with Roy. It’s just one of those things you do that (for me) seems so bonding, even though the process isn’t difficult. Weird, but good. 😉
10 – Helping Others. It may sound sappy but honestly this is such a huge part of my life and is so important to me. I am an INFJ personality type, which is the rarest personality type in the world and is known as “The Counselor” or “The Advocate”. Maybe this explains it, but I just feel a deep calling to help others. I’ve always fought for the underdog, I’ve been an activist before I hit my teens and even my writing always has a singular goal in mind: to help someone – to make a difference, to make someone feel less alone. (Martin Luther King Jr. and Mother Teresa were also INFJs.)
11 – Books: Thrillers. I love me a good thriller. Seriously, it is possibly my favorite type of book (and I am ever the bookaholic) and at least my favorite type of fiction book. I totally get engrossed in a good thriller and can’t go to bed until I finish sometimes. That’s how I measure just how good they are! Another point of measurement is if I figure them out before the reveal. I almost always do, so the books that I don’t have an extra special place in my heart.
12 – The Powerful Creative Nonfiction Book. Every now and then, I read a nonfiction book, either a memoir, how to, essay collection or something that doesn’t necessarily fit into any given type and it’s just: WOW. I’m either blown away, or moved beyond words, or think that every person should read this nugget because it will change your life. Usually they are transformative for me, but not always. Sometimes they just open so many windows in my heart I feel like everyone would benefit from it because even the most open-minded, good-hearted person can use a surge of pure circulation every now and then.
13 – Nerd Books. I take great pride in being a nerd which means that a lot of my favorite books are encyclopedia-sized (or sometimes straight up encyclopedias) on the following subjects: Dinosaurs; Prehistoric Animals; Dogs; Wildcats; Other Wildlife; Ancient History; Historical Figures; Social Movement/Marginalized Voices History; European/Aristocracy History; Psychology; Mythology; Writing/Craft. Obviously, I like a lot of geeky, nerdy things and I’m okay with that. I love what I love. 😉
14 – 90’s Video Games. Roy recently bought me a Nvidia Shield and I’m able to play all of my favorite childhood games on it. We only just set it up so I haven’t spent much time on it, but the test run I played just to see if it worked was an instant surge of nostalgia boosted with good old-fashioned fun. I’m so happy that Mario is back in my life! 😉
15 – Cupcakes. I know that I have already addressed my sweet tooth, and while I love all baked goods (pastries, cookies, muffins, cakes etc.) cupcakes take up a special place in my heart. Eating them is like an “instant feel good” and making them – well I love that too! I love coming up with unique creations from scratch like pumpkin ginger or chocolate chipotle chili. It seems to be when I’m at my most creative but also because I never make them for myself, so it’s not just about creating something good from nothing, but spreading around instant feel goods to other people. And while that isn’t “helping others” it seems to also tick off that box just the same! 😉
16 – King Soopers Flowers. I love flowers. Even though you have to water them and no matter what they will die – I just do. King Soopers (the Kroger stores in our area) deserve a shout out however because every time I surprise Roy with flowers from there, or he surprises me, we are both blown away. Their bouquets are always the most beautiful, the most fragrant and best of all: the longest lasting. Seriously, Roy got me a beautiful bouquet a few days before Valentine’s Day and finally a few of the roses are starting to droop (only a few, and only droop, they’re not discolored or wilting) while all of the lilies are vibrant as ever, two of them as vibrant and large as they were when they first bloomed!
17 – Collaborators. I typically like to work solo – so being a writer suits me, but at the same time I love trading work with other writers or working with people on an activism project, which makes me realize I actually do like collaboration. I love brainstorming with others, and how you can build each other up, gaining momentum you wouldn’t on your own, as well as getting ideas you wouldn’t get on your own. I love working with someone else on a common goal. It’s incredibly rewarding. Who knew? 😛
18 – My Favorite TV Shows. I’m not even going to try to list all of my favorite shows because I have too many (which is why I’m behind six episodes to two seasons for nearly every “favorite show”) but I love just sitting back and working on paperwork or other stuff while I watch a show. And I love watching shows with my husband (our mutual favorites). He’s on his computer and I’m most likely on mine, but we joke and laugh and talk while we’re working on something and watching a show we like. It’s not the perfect night, but it is pretty up there! 🙂
19 – Day Trips. I love taking day trips or even weekend trips. It’s like our version of vacation (we’ve never been on a vacation that didn’t involve visiting relatives). I love it because I like to change it up, and whether we’re going hiking or exploring caves or just checking out local cuisine and cuddling near a fire I love getting away. It’s always a sort of recharge. Recharging us (Roy and I have both said we feel this way) but also recharging me. I feel more refreshed as a person, as a friend and spouse, and as a writer. I might like this feeling more than what we actually do on these trips! 😉
20 – The Lazy Day In. I am not a lazy person. Neither is Roy. But that doesn’t mean we’re always go-go-go. In fact, when we’re like this neither of us are happy, usually it’s an obligation or a rush to get something done. So I love when we are able to just stay in. If we have this opportunity while at home, it’s always on a Sunday or a federal holiday. On these days we both try to sleep in (Roy is much better at this than me) and then make an easy dinner or just do leftovers while relaxing and/or catching up on some of our favorite shows. To some this may sound incredibly boring, but to us it’s bliss.
21 – Massages. I love getting massages from the foot rubs my husband will sometimes give me to going to see an actual professional. I wish we were rich because if we were, I would probably try to get a massage once a week; right now, I probably get one once a year. But each time I go, I feel so much better afterward (I carry a lot of stress apparently – insert laughter here) and it’s always a special treat.
22 – Sleep. I used to hate sleeping. Like I only did it because it was important for your health, but I always saw it as wasted time. I’m not sure that viewpoint has changed exactly, but now I at least appreciate sleep. Only in the last month have I been able to have restful sleeps, usually getting eight hours. This from after nearly a year or restless, fitful sleeps where I averaged five hours a night – maybe. So I can say I’ve seen the other side of restful, and it isn’t very pretty. Yay for sleep!
23 – Brown Sugar Cinnamon Syrup. Remember how I said I loved flavored lattes and mochas? Well after discovering this syrup in December and tasting multiple drinks with it as an ingredient (from multiple coffee places) let me just say this makes all the difference. I love it, and if I could I would seriously put it in everything!
24 – Chocolate Covered Espresso Beans. I love the taste of these, but also they are like a shot of espresso or something. After I eat one, it’s like I go from being enthusiastic and productive to someone who just slammed two Red Bulls and are so productive and full of energy, they’re nearly manic. I don’t know why these do that to me, but they do and I love riding that high. Of course, coming down can be draining, so I never have more than two per day (usually just one or less).
25 – Waking Up. Every day is a gift. I know this, and I remember it every morning I wake up. I love waking up because it means I have another day, and that isn’t a right – it’s a privilege.
26 – Thoughtful Gifts. Everyone likes getting gifts though some people like me prefer to give them, but I find whether you’re giving or receiving, it’s the thoughtful gifts that mean the most. I think my reputation for being “particular” makes a lot of people weary of going off script for me if they want to get me something, but really if it’s thoughtful I appreciate it much more than anything on my list. For example, someone who gives me a Starbucks gift card as an obligatory birthday gift they picked up because they simply forgot is not thoughtful. A gift card to my favorite coffee place (Ziggy’s) is. My husband always does the best job going off script and every time he blows me away, because he found something so wonderful for me that I either A) didn’t know existed or B) never would have considered. It’s the same with giving. I loathe giving gift cards. I’ve come around to doing so for a few people if I have no other choice but I hate it because I feel like I’m not being thoughtful with their gifts and the whole point of giving or receiving gifts is the thought behind them. But I love thinking about getting someone something I’m sure they’ll love but never considered – it gives me such a high. And I love getting my husband things off script, even if I always worry “Will he like this?” until he actually opens his gift, but still. I love thinking about others and finding/giving them the “perfect” gift. And I love being surprised myself!
27 – Gestures. Gestures are like intangible gifts to me. I’m not talking about meaningless or empty gestures but the ones that count. It can be as small as holding the door for someone or the barista sharing a laugh with you as you wait for your coffee to as big as a neighbor giving you a care basket or taking our trashcans to the curb and then putting them back when you’re out of town. I love the grand (particularly romantic) gesture, but I am just as happy with all of the small ones too. They’re just tiny action presents of thoughtfulness and care. Like gifts, I love giving them as often as I can, and they’re always appreciated when received.
28 – Progress. For me it’s all about progress. Progress is the state of moving forward, growing or strengthening – it’s not arriving at a proverbial finish line. I’m always working on myself and trying to grow as a person and I never feel as fulfilled or ecstatic as I do when I recognize my own progress. Similarly when it comes to a relationship progressing or seeing others progress in areas they want to work on I feel just as joyful for them, and depending on who they are like a friend or my husband, I feel proud of them. Progress – big or small, is something that should always be celebrated and supported so that you, or the person in question, find new enthusiasm to keep pushing forward.
So there – 28 things that brought me little hits of joy, gratitude and love. Alone, many of these things may be easily missed, but when you’re looking for them there are so many it becomes difficult to choose between them all. #Perspective
That does it for my month of love, officially. Obviously, I don’t need a theme to sound off on the things that I love or are important to me, but I liked setting aside this month to do only that. Maybe I’ll do it again next year. Thanks for reading and following me on this loving journey that probably came across as sappy or corny a few times. (Though in all fairness, I did warn you about that at the start. 😉 )