I’m not talking about only doing things you love. That’s irresponsible. I’m not even talking about loving every single thing you have to do. Even when we find satisfaction in our work, there are always unpleasant things that we must do – things that we tolerate and wade through, but hope not to have to do ever again. I’m going to tell you a secret to true happiness. It’s not expecting to be madly in love with each moment that we spend in this life – and being okay with that.
And there’s a second part of that secret that is equally important, to find time each day to squeeze in a little of what you DO love to do. Maybe you’re overwhelmed and can’t think of a spare minute anywhere to dedicate to the things that make you smile from tip to toe. I get that. So I’m going to share a few ideas to slip those things in here and there – and truly end each day having loved it in some measure.
My first suggestion is to dilute something you don’t love with something that you do. I’ll give you an example from my childhood. I hated doing the dishes. As I’ve been known to say, “hate” is a strong word, but that doesn’t necessarily make it the wrong word.” I wasn’t the only one. It’s genetic, I’m pretty sure. But it must skip a generation or something like that, because my mom loves doing them. When we were little she printed and laminated the words to fun songs and put them in front of the sink. We would learn the songs while we washed, and it was simply amazing how quickly the time flew by. Have I ever mentioned how brilliant my mother is? She was desperate, and in her desperation had some of her very best ideas. But it wasn’t just songs that she used to make dishes more bearable. Sometimes she would take the time to do the dishes with us. That is one of my very favorite memories from childhood. Doing dishes with my mom. Somehow having that one-on-one time with her made it seem as though we weren’t doing dishes at all. These days, you’ll find that my house is cleanest when I’ve been singing along to Pandora as I’ve conquered my least favorite chores. How about making your workout doubly enjoyable by walking your children to school (great chance to spend time with them), or to deliver notes, or to get landscaping ideas?
My next suggestion is to really look at your priorities. Not the ones you think you have, or want to have, but those that you really have. My favorite excuse to call myself on is that “it takes time away from my family”. As if the only time in my day that I have any control over is the time I spend with my husband and children. It’s so silly that it makes me laugh at myself whenever I catch myself trying to use it. Yeah. Because I couldn’t wake up 20 minutes earlier. Or watch 30 minutes less television. Or let’s face it, spend 15 minutes less on Pinterest and Facebook. Fine, those are relaxing. There’s nothing wrong with them. But I don’t love them. And if you’re looking to squeeze a few minutes of something you LOVE into your day, maybe you have the same kinds of little moments tucked away that I do – just waiting to be better filled.
And finally, discover more “bite-sized” things to love. Maybe you don’t have time to do a big project – but you can usually find a way to translate it into something small. Don’t have time to make a card? How about making a tag? Or an ATC? Or a bookmark? Don’t haul everything out, just keep a little shoebox with double-sided tape, a little string, a few colored pencils and some pre-punched shapes and sentiments (print a sheet of digi-sentiments – so easy) for a no-mess, quick paper project! Plant a few flower boxes if you can’t fit in an entire garden. Write a journal, or a blog. Do the dishes. Oh, wait. . . that was the wrong list. But you get the idea.
And every now and again you’ll find a day that is so filled with beautiful things you love to do that your face will hurt from smiling. Like having your mom come for a visit, and spending a few hours creatively with amazing women, and watching a movie with the family. Ah, bliss.