Years ago, I was at a writer’s conference and author, Heather Graham was speaking. She said that one of her family members, I think it was her husband, said that she needed to get out in the real world, or she was going to run out of things to write about. She could only pull ideas out of her head for so long.
The audience laughed. But the truth in that funny statement really hits home for many people, not just for prolific authors.
Getting so wrapped up in work or in our novels can sometimes zap the joy of life away if we’re not careful to try to enjoy everyday things along the way.
I try to do three things often if not daily.
1. Notice life
2. Be grateful for everything
3. Find things to laugh or smile about
This helps me to enjoy life even on the tough days when I might be stressed or super busy.
1. Notice Life
What does this mean? Well . . . I try to stop and pay attention and notice little things that I see all the time and usually ignore.
Right now, I’m noticing all the trees blossoming in my neighborhood and in my yard. My orange and lemon and nectarine trees have beautiful white and pink blossoms, and the citrus blossoms smell amazing. I walk into my back yard and the perfume in the air is heavenly.
When I was out there yesterday, I heard and noticed that my neighbor’s son was visiting. My neighbors are in their 90s, so their children are in their 60’s and 70’s. When they bought the house and moved in a few years ago, I met the son, a guy with a white beard and very little hair, and I assumed that he was the knew owner. We chatted for a while and I welcomed him to the neighborhood. He laughed and said that his parents were moving in. His parents? I was shocked.
I met my actual neighbors soon after that and they are the youngest looking 90 year-olds ever. So, yesterday I heard the son scolding his father about doing yardwork, telling him that he’s too old to do that. He should wait until the weekend when the son could help him. His father said, “who are you calling old?”
As I sat in my backyard waiting for my dogs to finish their business and chase lizards, I laughed. I love human interactions. I find them interesting, so taking the time to notice people and nature brings joy into my life and helps me to connect to life.
We spend too much time at our computer these days, and it’s important to connect watch the rebirth of nature, listen to the voices of people, watch the birds playing in the wind.
2. Be Grateful For Everything
The more grateful we are, the more we enjoy the moments of our life and what we have.
My neighbors across the street have a little farm. They grow various fruit. Every once in a while, they will knock on my door and offer a gift of apples or berries. They always say it was “extra” and they wanted to share.
They’re so kind and generous, and I’m grateful to have them as neighbors.
I think it’s easy to be grateful for everything. Being healthy. A nice sunny day. Rain. The books on my shelf. A car that runs and is not broken.
I find that I enjoy my life so much more when I look at all the reasons I’m grateful to be alive. I look at my children or my dogs and ask myself how did I get so lucky to have these kids or pets in my life?
3. Find Things to Laugh or Smile About
Everyday, there are many things to bring us down, to stress us out, to make us worry and to make us angry.
Listening to the news for just a few minutes makes me want to jump into bed and put my head under the pillow and not get up the rest of the day.
So, purposely finding things to laugh or smile about it a must. Sometimes, I don’t have to look far. My dogs a constant source of joy and happiness. They make me smile all the time. Watching them play will make me smile.
But, if I can’t find anything around me to make me laugh, I will scroll through social media. Yes, there is a lot of negativity, but I ignore that and look for anything funny.
I study Buddhism and belong to a Buddhist group on social media. I saw this picture and it made me laugh.
Just a few silly memes sometimes can lighten your day and remind you to enjoy life. Rather than taking life so seriously all the time, it’s good to relax and laugh.
I am a serious, highly-motivated person who spends 95% of my waking hours working according to my schedule. But I think it’s important to the creative mind to remember to enjoy life.
Not everything is going to work out perfectly and some days nothing will go right, but if we can find a way to not worry and to remember that we are meant to appreciate being alive, the problems become less important — or at least more bearable.
Have a story to tell? Want to learn how to record personal experiences before they’re lost or write a novel? Let started by downloading for free Julia Amante’s “Free Your Story” framework.