It can be difficult in the midst of all life’s many commitments to find meaningful ways to invest in yourself and the things you love. Life is busy. How can we utilize the little pockets of time – tucked-in between work, relationships, and keeping dirty dishes from piling up – to their greatest effect? How do we know what will truly make us happy? What sorts of things are worth it? Worth giving of our time and of ourselves? The answers to these questions are highly personal but with a bit of reflection you can start to identify some areas. Once you do, COMMIT. Invest in yourself!
We do all sorts of things over the course of 365 days. But what did you do last year that you look back on with fondness? Maybe you recall knitting a gorgeous scarf for your sister or throwing a really rocking party. Whatever it was, the fact that you can remember it a year later and it STILL brings you joy means it’s probably a pursuit worth repeating. When I look back on the past 52 weeks, a lot of my fond memories involve outdoor adventures. Not anything complex or super planned. Just afternoon trips to nearby hiking trails, laying on a blanket in a park, walking through city streets casually stopping to admire architecture, and splashing out into the ocean. To invest in myself I need to play outside.
Action – Start brainstorming some memories from last year and make a list of those things you remember doing that still bring you joy.
Sometimes your path leads you down unexpected detours you must traverse with extra caution and care. When this happens, and times get tough, what sort of magic do you cloak yourself with to see yourself through to the light at the end of the tunnel? Whether you’re the sort of person who needs cheering up or relaxing or full-out distractions…what are the things that make you feel like YOU, that give you the tiniest sense of stability on those rocky detours? My journey has certainly veered a time or two. I’ve found walking to be the greatest compass to lead me back. Just the right mix of motion, introspection, and endorphins. I also love throwing myself into projects that require a lot of research. Solving lots of little mysteries to put together a bigger picture makes me feel useful and makes me feel like ME. To invest in myself I need to move my feet and move my mind.
Action – Journal about a tough time in your life and what sorts of things you turned to see yourself through. How did you stay in your magic?
Everyone has most likely uttered something to the effect of, “You wouldn’t understand unless you were ….”. Something that feels like a “Secret Society” because it is so unique to those involved in it. Maybe it sounds like you’re speaking a second language when you talk about it. Random story: The other day Chet borrowed my camera to take pictures of his new computer keyboard with custom keycaps. When I scrolled through his images I noticed there was a shot of his keyboard next to a shoe. Puzzled, he explained to me that it was common in the “keyboard community” to post pictures of your most used keyboard next to your most used shoes. LOL WHUT? ….but I love it! Just the fact that he knows that…and then DID it means he’s in a secret society that’s worth it for him. Secret societies let you see the big picture. One of my favorite secret societies is competitive forensics. I competed in speech & debate for 11 years and coached full-time for 3. I still love so many aspects of this world because these are my people and they speak my language. To invest in myself I need to spend time with my secret societies.
Action – Chat with a fellow secret society member about all the ways other people just wouldn’t understand.
My mind wanders to the most random things. I’m sure yours does, too. We’re dreamers after-all. It’s when patterns start to emerge in these thoughts that you should start taking note! Are you constantly thinking about a certain comedian? Art supplies? Clever hashtags for your Instgram? Are your thoughts drifting to hiking trails, dance routines, your favorite store, your favorite band, your next meal? Maybe there’s a reason. Maybe these thoughts are your flowers! I have a few go-to’s when it comes to day-dreaming and random Googling: capsule wardrobes, historical medical practices, tiny homes, backpacking, and obscure subcultures. An over-whelming need to DO something with these thoughts was one of the main reasons I started this blog. To invest in myself I need to spend time in my garden and pick a few flowers to share with others along the way.
Action – Identify three ways you can get recurring thoughts out of your head-space and into REAL space and then FOLLOW THROUGH! How can you spend time in your garden and share it’s beauty with others?
One of my favorite pieces of advice about finding ways to BE HAPPY is to look to your childhood. Looking at yourself as a child through adult eyes can be truly inspiring when it comes to where you should invest. What made you happy when you were little? How did you love spending your time when responsibilities were at a minimum and time seemed to stretch out into infinity? I loved making things out of cast-offs (I even told my parents I wanted to be a recycling lady when I grew up because I thought that meant turning trash into art), traveling (I was fortunate to see a LOT of places before my 18th birthday), dancing ballet, and reading lots and lots and LOTS of books. So what does that mean for me now? I like doing little DIY projects(like Pocket Letters) and exploring new-to-me places. I don’t go en pointe any more but an almost daily yoga practice makes me feel stretched and strong in much the same ways as ballet. And I read as much as I possibly can. To invest in myself I need to pay tribute to my child-self.
Action – Make a plan. What childhood favorite can you do daily? Weekly? Monthly? Set up a schedule and stick to it. Make your child-self proud!
What are you doing to invest in yourself TODAY? Is making time for yourself something you’re striving for in 2016? Leave a comment and let me know!