The List: An Update

I’m only two days into working The List, but I’m already aware of benefits. What I have learned, or perhaps remembered, is if my mind and body are not disciplined, then I tend to obsess over circumstances that I cannot affect or control. Since the pursuits and activities on The List are goals I wish to accomplish, then even small successes create happiness. It seems a small accomplishment, indeed, to have mowed the yard, but having done so makes me happy.

I know next to nothing about psychotherapy, but I think training the mind to focus on that which makes one happy is a big part of it.

I have learned (or, actually, remembered) that happiness is often a choice I make.

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Happy New Year

Hi, y’all. I’m still here! It is the last day of the year and I’m taking stock, as is customary.

Except I’m NOT! I’ve done that before and I’m not convinced year-end evaluations are the healthiest of activities. Specifically, how does retrospection mesh with living in the now?

I have two friends (not the same friends described below) who challenge me to live in the now, sometimes with patience and sometimes with exasperation. I confess I find it difficult.

How about, in lieu of an end-of-year evaluation, I describe what is happening right now?

Let me begin:

“The Sound of Silence” by Simon and Garfunkel just queued up from a playlist of similar songs. My mood is mellow and enhanced by a fourth-day dose of steroids intended to relieve the symptoms of an upper respiratory infection.

I sit comfortably at a kitchen table sipping my second cup of coffee. I’m full after having eaten a breakfast of two fried eggs, a biscuit with sausage gravy, bacon, and pan-braised Brussel spouts. The table belongs to a friend/lover. His friend/lover is in the other room (also my friend)—and now I hesitate as I struggle to describe not the people themselves but my relationship to them. Why the hesitation? Perhaps I’ll reemphasize how I started this paragraph and restate: I sit comfortably ….

My friend smiles and I interpret it as a question: What are you doing? I read aloud what I’ve written and the conversation between the three of us quickly deepens, touching on topics such as truth, honesty, tmi, perceptions, and, most importantly, the definition and pursuit of happiness.

I write this post via my phone and for a considerable amount of time I stare at the screen, searching for the point. I think the point for now is: comfort and happiness intersect. Right now—in this moment—I am deeply comfortable; right now—in this moment—I am deeply happy.

Happy New Year.

Things I Think I Want

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I want to live where the temperature never dips below 65°.

I want to not have ulcerative colitis.

I want to not have to think about money.

I want Katie, Sam, Ben, and Ruth to be happy.

I want to be satisfied with what I have.

I want to burn fragrant candles all the time.

I want fresh flowers every-other week.

I want to legally marry Frank.

I want to have time and resources to have a magnificent flower and vegetable garden.

I want to take pictures that I can frame and give to people.

I want to retire early.

I want to inspire joy in others.