Tuesday, May 29, 2012

A Daily To Do List

After a long weekend of thwarted trips to the beach (we tried to camp on the windiest day ever and the sandstorm won), too much alcohol, multiple part time jobs, and the sudden onslaught of summer weather (mid 80s and humid already!) I woke up this morning feeling a little disjointed. 

Pancakes help me unwind.

The problem, you see, is that I am notoriously bad at relaxing. It feels good in the moment - the sleeping in, the decadent meals at favorite restaurants, the late nights at the bars, playing trivia and skee-ball with friends - but then, the next day, I am disappointed in all the things I didn't do, rather than revived by the good times I had.  This internal struggle is nothing new. I'm sure I've blogged about it before, and just as sure that I'll blog about it again.

What it comes down to is this: in order to be happy, I need to feel like a responsible, productive human who is making progress in reaching her life goals. Key things I must accomplish every day in order to achieve this state of being are as follows: 

1. Do something for my writing. Mostly this includes writing, but it can also include submitting, revising, workshopping, or reading a good book.

2. Work out. Exercise is a mood enhancer, a stress reliever, an inspiration inducer (I get my best ideas while sweating), and absolutely necessary to keeping me energized and balanced. 

3. Eat whole foods, at home. Achieves the same results as number two, with the bonus of saving money.

4. Avoid hangovers. Moderation, y'all. One day I'll figure it out.

5. Spend time with friends and family. But not too much time. I am most productive when I'm alone and, as I stated earlier, feeling productive is the whole point.

(Other things that make me feel like a worthwhile human include walking the dogs, tending to the mini-farm, drinking a glass of wine on the couch with Nathan, calling my mom more often, putting the laundry away, an empty sink, sitting in sunshine, working towards world peace, and waking up early. But I don't have to do those other things every day. Just most days.) 

I found these frogs in the garden.

They seem to understand life better than I.

I don't really know what the point of this post was, except to write down the things that I need to do, every day, in order to wake up feeling like I've earned this life. Seeing how simple those things are, how little time they actually take, reminds me that it's okay to relax - as long as I get a few things done, for me, first. I'm going to keep that list near, and glace at it every morning, making sure to check off at least a few of the items before lunch. I think that will go a long way toward making me feel like - well, like me.

Do you have any daily things you need to do to make yourself feel happy and whole? Or are you a relaxation pro, and can you tell your secrets? Do you like frogs as much as I do, or do you prefer pancakes? I'd love to hear your own lists in the comments.


  1. I like this post! To answer your questions:
    1) Yes, I like frogs! Very much. I also like turtles and lizards a lot.
    2) I know what you mean about feeling disjointed when you've been away from your life duties for too long. That can happen to me on vacation sometimes, and I end up feeling tired and wrung out. I think I'm learning that I need to be more consistent about running and eating healthfully when I'm away from my routine. I also need to learn that it's okay to take some alone time to regroup.
    3) My daily list depends on whether it's a workday or a weekend. On workdays, it's really important to me to get some experimental work done--namely running experiments and/or analyzing data. On weekends, I like to write blog posts and catch up on my writing life because I don't always have the time/energy/inspiration to blog during the work week.

    I love your list, my dear :-)

  2. About frogs...Oli saw a kid on tv with a pet tree frog. The kid held his big bright green frog and they showed the frog climbing on his shirt.

    Olivia requested she too have a frog. I told her we'd talk about it when she's older and a bit gentler with her touch.

    She insisted frog now.

    I said no and she cried.

  3. I know what you mean about the list thing and the unhappiness that comes from having too much fun/not doing enough stuff. I wish I didn't but I do.

    I think everyone deserves some time off from time to time. We earn it each and every day.

    I just caught up on your homesteading post below - you guys are really living The Good Life - if you haven't ever seen the show you should. It is a seventies BBC sitcom about a couple trying to live a self sufficient life in London.

    Very cute and I think you'd like it in a corny sort of way.


    1. I haven't seen The Good Life, but I will definitely check it out. It sounds perfect for us!

  4. My late father was a herpetologist, so of course I like frogs! I used to have many as pets.

    I tend to do better when I get regular (not necessarily daily but close) exercise and when I am striking a balance between work and life outside of work. Sadly, I'm not very good at that balance during the academic year, so I rely on the more relaxed pace of summer months when I'm usually not teaching and can just focus on the research and writing part of my career to find that balance and recharge.

  5. I think I need to sit down and write out something like this for myself--I'm getting lost in life and not feeling like I'm accomplishing what truly makes me happy. Time to get some focus! You sound like you're looking for balance--definitely a good thing!

  6. Oh, wow!! I can't believe you were able to get shots of them so up-close. I mean, you were probably using the zoom haha but still that's impressive! I've never really seen a frog first-hand before. You don't get too many frogs in Rhode Island.