To Do Lists and Extroverted Introversion

I recently read a Refinery29 article about a girl who finds it hard to say “no” to invitations and requests and therefore decided to conduct an experiment about staying home for seven days, and I thought, “I wish I had the time to do that” because that sounds exactly like something I would love. Spring Break is coming up, which would be the perfect opportunity, except this year I’m traveling to Mississippi with my Honors class to immerse myself in the history and culture of the Delta and emerge with a creative final project that I have yet to figure out…

I know we often say we don’t have the time when we actually do, but I think in this case it’s truthful to say that I don’t have an entire week to dedicate to this kind of experiment—though I definitely have a To Do list long enough to keep me busy for a whole week and after! I think a defining characteristic of adulthood is that your To Do list never really gets any shorter…

My birthday did sneak up on me this year like I figured it probably would, amidst all else going on: my parents returned from Saudi Arabia early so my dad could have surgery done on his shoulder here in the U.S., trips to our place in Centerville, Valentine’s Day, my best friend’s bridal shower, everyday errands, work, classes, and there’s probably more I’m missing… And it came, and then it went, and then it was Valentine’s Day, and today my parents are leaving on a jet plane again while I look at my calendar and try desperately to figure out where my month went, all the while knowing the rest will disappear in much the same fashion.

I get a lot of satisfaction out of productivity. Mom and I went for pedicures Monday, and I was telling her how I could check that and “buy nude shoes for Bailey’s wedding” off my To Do list now, and she laughed, “You get a lot of satisfaction out of checking things off that list, don’t you!?” She knows me well. But, every week, if I can stay in for just one day, I also get a lot of satisfaction out of that, and I think it’s healthy because it gives me time to be alone with my “extroverted introvert” self and recharge. Maybe it doesn’t often happen anymore…this week will be the third, I think, without this kind of day…but such seems to be the nature of my life nowadays. Gotta change that.

After work today, I’m off to read the next fifty pages of Faulkner’s As I Lay Dying for my Honors class tomorrow and finish my short story for my Creative Writing class exercise, which I have titled, “One Cup of Coffee, Black.” Then I have two upcoming French exams to study for. Somewhere in there I’d like to fit pleasure reading, home manicure, and perhaps also shaving my legs and walking my dog. Wish me luck.

❤︎

Inspiration Citations

A Thankful Holiday Season

Every year, I love the holidays. I look forward to Thanksgiving and Christmas and New Year’s, and not just the days themselves, but the days in between, where there is just this sense in the air of hope and anticipation and joy and truly “the most wonderful time of the year.” Christmastime, of course, is my favorite.

I hope this Christmas will be seasons better than this Thanksgiving turned out to be.

No, no details. Suffice it to say that my Thanksgiving ended on a very emotional note that left me saying, and at least partly meaning, “I hate the holidays.”

No. It isn’t true. Thankfully, because Christmas will surely sneak up on me, as it does every year now. I probably won’t be ready, but I guess all that matters is spending time with the people I care about, and not so much being ready with gifts. Gifts can come later.

Thanksgiving left me feeling not at all thankful, but the truth is I have a lot to be thankful for this holiday season. Let me count the ways…

  • That there is even a holiday season to celebrate
  • My relationship with Dylan, and our fur baby, Penny
  • My parents will be home
  • My job at Arte Público Press
  • Having stumbled upon the lovely Kimberly Wilson—my new lifestyle guru—and her beautiful website, podcast, and blog
  • Bella Grace magazine—and a special thank-you to my Nonnie for gifting me a subscription for Christmas!
  • Seven Deadly Sins anime, and SDS fan fiction, my new guilty pleasure (Dylan said I jumped into an entirely new level of “nerd” with that one, a level that neither he nor any of his friends—whom I would often collectively refer to as nerds—have never reached)
  • The freedom to be myself in that respect, and to admit it on my blog because it makes me happy and damn it I don’t care who knows

and many, many more. It would take too long to list everything.

But now, let’s revisit that last one for a moment, to kick off a list of hopes and dreams for the holidays and some for the New Year:

  • Maybe to be myself a little more, without caring so much about what other people think, including my parents—not disrespectfully, of course—(#sorrynotsorry)
  • Write more, including blog posts, my fan fiction story, and work more on other ideas I have
  • Read more, including one or two French books, or at least watch one or two French movies
  • Try not to over-schedule myself quite as much, but I anticipate a lot of trouble with this one
  • Be calmer and more present in the moment
  • Go through my clothes and clutter; possibly try to create more of a capsule wardrobe
  • Do more inexpensive things with Dylan, such as picnics or museum outings, movie nights in where we cook, etc.
  • Buy healthier options next time I’m at the grocery store
  • DRINK MORE WATER—which is exactly why I bought my motivational water bottle, after all
  • Finish paying off my credit card and next time, buy an iTunes card instead
  • Get the church library books (900+) back on the shelves and organized before Christmas Eve service

The holidays always feel like a very busy time of year. Now that my fall semester at UH has ended, it has slowed down some, and that helps, but I always find myself a few days before Christmas running around trying to put together presents last-minute, finalize plans, bake cookies, etc. On top of that, the past two years, I’ve gotten sick with allergies or a cold or mild flu around the same time, so I’ll have to run around while not feeling 100%, and each Christmas Day, I’ve ended up having to take a nap at Dylan’s house in the afternoon to recover a little. Prayers, well wishes, and good vibes would be very much appreciated, in the hope that that doesn’t happen again this year!

As it is, this week already feels a little busy; the featured photo is from the planner page I’m currently on. I’d like to include a link to my Instagram in order to share what I wrote about that this morning, but my account is currently private, so I’ll just pen it here:

“I used to keep track of things in my head. But as soon as I went back to work at #ArtePúblicoPress, I had to start writing them down again. Now I write down things I want to do as well as things I have to do, and I think this way, it makes them more likely to happen. Thank you for cute planners and colorful highlighters, because it’s always easier to look at a pretty, fun #todolist and not feel as overwhelmed. Like life. Life is short, so make it pretty and fun as much as possible. You’ll feel better for it. I know I do.”

(Also, a special note to Dylan now, who commented Sunday night that I use too many commas: you’re right, as I noticed while copying that quote from Instagram to this blog post; I had to edit that piece on Instagram twice to get rid of two unnecessary commas.)

Maybe I should add that to my list above: be more comma-conscious! 😉

And a thank you for pointing that out. 🙂

50 Little Things That Make Me Happy

Because sometimes, it’s important to just focus on what makes you happy,
and in no particular order.

  1. A hot cup of coffee.
  2. A hot shower.
  3. Sunny blue skies, especially without clouds.
  4. Shapes and pictures in the clouds.
  5. Sassy music.
  6. The lush, grassy green field behind my church, because it wasn’t always lush and grassy green.
  7. Pretty things.
  8. Sparkly things.
  9. Books.
  10. Fresh notebooks.
  11. Office supply stores.
  12. Brand-new issues of Bella Grace magazine.
  13. Freshly laundered sheets.
  14. A clean, newly detailed car.
  15. Burning candles.
  16. Burning fireplaces.
  17. Perfect, untouched snow.
  18. Fresh flowers in a vase.
  19. The new wood floors in my house, and the feeling of how they transformed the familiar space.
  20. The feeling of my fingers flying across a laptop keyboard.
  21. New episodes of my favorite TV shows.
  22. Whenever Taylor Swift releases a new album.
  23. Summertime.
  24. Postcards.
  25. Letters.
  26. Driving through pretty neighborhoods.
  27. Silky soft sand.
  28. Manicures and pedicures.
  29. Carrying my own shopping bags (grocery bags excluded).
  30. The feeling I get from wearing high heels.
  31. Writing.
  32. Christmas lights.
  33. Correct spelling, grammar, and punctuation.
  34. Dessert.
  35. Breakfast for dinner.
  36. Character customization in my video games.
  37. Banana splits with extra hot fudge.
  38. Milk chocolate, melted in a bowl.
  39. Adorable baby animals.
  40. Yearbooks.
  41. Whimsicality.
  42. Disney and Pixar movies.
  43. Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year holidays.
  44. Lemon pastries.
  45. Peaceful and quiet alone time.
  46. Shopping.
  47. Pleasant surprises.
  48. Vintage, like typewriters and Polaroid cameras.
  49. Making and keeping new friends.
  50. Being able to carry on a conversation in French.
  51. The way Granny always (and is the only one to do so) sings “And many more…” at the end of “Happy Birthday.”

❤︎

What 50 (or more) little things make you happy?