In the free series of writing prompts I put together, one of the prompts is to make a list of 50 things that make you happy. I love lists (they’re one of the things that makes me happy!), and I love using lists as a way to kick-start my writing.
It’s not writing, it’s making a list!
Writing lists appeals so much to my desire for organization, neatness, structure, and order.
Today’s prompt is to make a list of things that make you feel good. If you’d like, scratch out your own list, or enjoy perusing my list, below.
1. When the sky fades from baby blue to yellow in one stunning moment, just before the sky dips into brilliant indigo and deepens to darkness. The hint of a highlight of the last moment of sun over the rooftops, indicating the near-closing of a day.
2. The immensity of oceans, water, and the seaside. Sitting by the sound of swelling waves lapping up at your toes. Where the sky meets the waves meet you.
3. Swimming, being in water, being immersed in water, being hugged by water.
4. Showers, the tickle of rainfall shower heads, the drizzle of an open-air shower on a hot summer day, opening your mouth to capture part of the rain, closing your eyes, dreaming up the best ideas inside a steady trickle of wet noise.
5. Baths. Luxurious, delicious baths. Bath houses. Steam rooms and cold baths and warm baths and Japanese bath houses and Russian-Turkish baths. The community aspect of bath houses in the winter. The solo aspect of rejuvenating your body.
6. Beaches.Sand in your toes. Sand just warm enough to melt you in it, but not too hot to burn your toes. Playing volleyball in the sand.
7. Forests. Canopies of leaves, overhead roofs, green for days. Multiple colors of green, a rainbow of greens, bright and neon to dark and seductive.
8. Hidden trails and hiking adventures. Leaves, trees, and paths beckoning you to follow them. Wandering in the woods on a mindful adventure.
9. Camping. Spending time outdoors. Un-plugging. Doing things more slowly. Cooking food. Stinking up like campfire smoke.
10. Cabins. Wooden cabins, small cabins, cabins with shared kitchens.
11. Retreats and adventures with close groups of friends. Sharing a home, a meal, a weekend with people you choose to call family.
12. Shared silence. Conversational silence. Understanding the beauty of a pause as rich as the words just spoken beforehand.
13. Parallel play. Being in the same room as someone and not having your attention commanded by the ego or insecurity of the person across from you. Dwelling in collective, simultaneous absorption in a project or task and relishing in the depth of self-thought.
14. Learning how to sing. Music, of all forms. Wiggling your hips to shake off the day.
15. Afghans and blankets! Particularly tossed up over my head and cuddling me up.
16. Cuddles. Hugs and snuggles and couch cuddles. Pile-ups with family and getting 5 people in a bed just for hugs. Promoting hug parties instead of standing and gabbing when I get tired of extroverted party antics.
17. Really, really good conversations. Conversations that unfold over a period of days, exploring an idea, returning to it, delving into it, pausing, becoming something again.
18. The perfect chair to sit in.
19. Reading good books: books that sweep you up and away inside of their ideas or adventures.
20. Exploring new places as a way of staying present with yourself.
21. Sleep that feels just right and wakes you up feeling refreshed.
22. Fractal patterns and other patterns in nature. Wondering in the beauty of existing forms, creations, and beings. Sinking into the awe of it all.
23. A black hardcover moleskin.
24. Pens! Pilot pens, V5 thickness. Black ink. Plus back-up roller-ball pens for airplanes, because sadly these favorite pens can explode on airplanes.
25. Cards, notepaper, stationary, letters. A box of unwritten cards beckoning to be written. An enveloped of letters stashed away in my backpack. Writing letters to friends as often as daily.
26. Text messages with friends for no reason.
27. Laughing at inside jokes. Being unable to stop laughing. Uncontrollable giggles. Things that make you giggle with their memory, hours and days later.
28. Monthly friend dates with people far away, people all over the world.
29. Someone who sends the perfect Google calendar invitation, knows their way around online organization tools, and is as geeky as you are about email, scheduling, and notifications. You breathe out. They get it. YES.
30. Making friends on the internet without ever moving past the social connection. Just knowing that you know each other are there. Having that be a joy in itself, and enough, for right now.
31. Writing. Writing in my journal, writing 750 words, writing a blog post, writing an email. Writing out my feelings, my ideas, my worries, my anxieties. Even writing in the middle of the night, when I have to — I still love it.
33. The perfect soup-plate bowl. One plate-bowl to rule them all.
34. Family. Sisters. Brothers. Cousins.
35. Alex’s cuddles, his smile, his hands, his kind spirit. Talking to Alex when I’m having a rough day and knowing he’ll let me cry and he’ll rub my back.
36. Bicycles. Summertime air. Being outdoors.
37. Bourbon or a really delicious cocktail from Three Sisters in Brooklyn. (I’m longing for one — sometime, soon enough, we’ll have another one.)
38. Cooking potluck dinners for friends. Stews made in one large Creuset pot, soaking up flavors all day.
39. The view from up above — aerial views from a plane.
40. Thanksgiving. Gratitude. Christmas with the family.
41. Snow Fall. Winter boots.
42. All of my Ecco shoes (they are the BEST). A good brand that treats you well. Excellent customer service.
43. The sound of rain when you’re inside.
44. Blossoms bursting open on an early day of Spring. The first signs of winter shaking off it’s cool slumber into the explosive greenery that is Spring. The fierce trumpeting of birds, flowers, and forests in a vibrant sense of newness and noise.
45. Volleyball games outside. Soccer games. Pick-up soccer! The Brooklyn Bridge Waterfront park. Ultimate frisbee. Running in cleats. Bicycling home. Breathing hard.
46. Yoga. Breathwork. Connecting to your self, your mind, your spirit, your body. Union. Refreshing realizations.
47. Meditation. Easy music to put you into a peaceful resting. Finding a place of stillness in your seat and relishing in it. A warm cup of tea and gazing out the window. Letting the thoughts untangle, tumble out. Slowing down. Breathing.
48. Lofts and unexpected nooks and crannies inside of houses.
49. Urban patterns. Architecture. Understanding that everything outside is built, made-up, born of someone’s imagination and patterning. Space, time, movement, and human behavior. Small cities and big bustling metropolis’. Rural farms and tiny cabins.
50. Being connected to each other.—
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