What makes you happy 2.0

Puerto Penasco sunset
Sunset in Mexico in the Gulf of California.

A year ago today I wrote a blog post “What Makes You Happy.” You can read it HERE. You’ll notice a link to one of our favorite bloggers, LA.

In last year’s post, I included a list of things that made me happy. I thought I’d take a look and see if I can add to it this year. This is what I wrote last year.

This morning I was writing my daily morning pages and I wrote a long list of things that make me happy. I woke up feeling a little down, so my brilliant idea was to focus on what brings me joy and incorporate the things on my list in my daily life — or at least weekly. I had quite a list.

A few of the items were:

A trip to the ocean

A good night’s sleep

Working on a project I’m proud of

Spending time with family and friends

Swimming in the nearby lake

Swimming laps at the city pool

Reading a good book

Catching up with friends via the phone

Hiking

What can I add to the list? Here’s What Makes Me Happy 2.0:

Visits from my kids

Inviting friends over for dinner

Cooking

The Desert Botanical Garden

Musical Instrument Museum

Going to Costco with my husband and stocking up

Watching baby quail

Morning walks

Sunsets and sunrises

Reading blogs from my blogging community

Watching Olive the cat play

What makes you happy?

Do you find time to incorporate these treats into your weekly lives?

Olive playing with her catnip mouse.

It’s all about the sea

Cloudy day at the beach with sun peeking through
Evening at the beach during a cloudy day, looking north. University of California Santa Barbara is at the furthest point of land in the distance.

Our vacation is centered around the ocean. Every morning we start the day with a long beach walk. Then after the strong rays of sunshine and crowds leave the beach, we head back to sit, read and walk some more.

Yesterday was cloudy and I wasn’t sure about going to the beach in the evening. I thought it would be too cold. But it was quiet and peaceful, except for the roar of the ocean. I sat watching perfect wave after wave curl into a barrel. Only two other families were at the mile long beach. I felt so thankful to be here on vacation.

beautiful blue sea and sky that matches
Walking south during the cloudy day. I loved how the blues of the water and sky matched.

One thing that surprises me is that our friends who live here don’t take advantage of the beach. One friend said she’d like to join me for a beach walk this weekend. That she hasn’t walked on the beach since last time we were here! I think that was last August. To give her credit, they do own a sailboat and sail one day per week.

I know if I lived here I’d make it to the beach every single day. At least for my morning walk. I wouldn’t take it for granted having lived for 35 years in the desert.

Where you live do you take your environment for granted? Or do you try to enjoy it to the fullest?

I almost felt “normal” again

Waffles with my daughter

We got away for two weeks and life felt like it did before the pandemic. It gave me hope that yes, we will return to life before COVID-19 at some point in time. These past six months (or 165 days) of sheltering in place will come to an end.

With my husband required to work remotely, and my writing that can be done wherever, we returned to a tiny beach bungalow for the third summer in a row. We had planned this vacation way before the pandemic, but with the onset of working remotely, we extended our stay and had more time to escape the desert heat and relish in a change of scenery.

There’s something about the ocean that is spiritual and calming. I didn’t realize how much anxiety had been building inside me until I got to the Pacific, walked along the shoreline with waves lapping at my ankles. I could breathe. My back straightened up. I no longer felt trapped and scared.

A beach walk near Santa Barbara

The most freeing feeling was diving under a wave. I’ve always worn hard contact lenses — well since 7th grade anyway. I could never freely dive into a pool or ocean without goggles and worrying about losing contacts, which I’ve done more than once. Last fall I had cataract surgery and no longer wear contacts. It took me a couple dips into the ocean to realize that I could swim and dive under waves without fear.

Our kids joined us for a few days, along with my son’s girlfriend and one of her sisters. We shared meals outside, beach walks, and excursions into the city of Santa Barbara. That felt normal like prior summer trips. We’ve been visiting good friends in the area since before the kids were born. We caught up with other couples and had fun laughing and talking over meals, always outside and socially distanced. But what a nice change from all those months of no social activity.

Santa Barbara Harbor

Yes, I’m back in my house, it’s 109 degrees outside. But, I still have a little bit of that feeling of hope that things will get better. And life is good.

What experiences have you had that give you hope that the pandemic life will end?