Today is a beautiful fall day. Warm in the bright sun, cool- almost cold in the shade, with a light breeze reminding you that winter is soon here. I didn’t have to work. I’ve been taking Friday’s off all summer and that lovely luxury has followed me into the autumn season. I even got good news yesterday that I will finally see my long-distance boyfriend next week.
Life is good.
But, even with all this beauty, free days, and good news; I really struggled to get myself off the couch and out of the house today. Well if I am honest, it is like that a lot of days. It comes and goes, but the potential for “couch paralysis” is always there. In my life, it is a very real threat to my mental health.
It is not uncommon for me to spend multiple days in the house. I am a contractor and a writer and I work from home. I don’t need to get up, get going, and get out the door every day. And my couch, while not exactly the most comfortable couch in the world, (and believe me, I’ve tested a lot of couches around the world!) it is at least a cozy safe haven within my own world. If I am out of food or drink, there is always an app for that, whether it be restaurant delivery, or grocery delivery. If I don’t want to, I really never have to leave the house.
Except of course, I DO want to leave the house. I want to have the fullness of my life, in all seasons. (Though I have noticed that this feeling of malaise generally strikes in between seasons, when the weather is not entirely one thing or another, when the world changes daily and there is no real consistency in it.)
Today though? I did get out of the house. And I am excited that while I WAS home, I did a few quick random art projects with my newly purchased watercolors and gel pens. At least if I am not going anywhere, I feel better if I actually get motivated to be artsy!
Last night I had grand plans to ride my bike today to a different neighborhood and try out a new coffee shop, hoping a change in scenery would inspire me to work on one of my two book projects and motivated to get at least ONE of the “600” blog post ideas I have down “on paper.” But, in barely being able to leave the house, the best I could do was come to my regular cafe, order my regular coffee and set up shop. (The plus side to this was getting a big hug from my favorite waitress and hearing the good news in her life!)
I opened up my notebook to check out a character sketch I did earlier this year, that has given me an idea for another book, and I came across a list of “Things I Want.” It made me pause. Before I even read the list, I thought to myself, “When was the last time I actually thought about what I wanted?” I mean I know I want to eat dinner. I know I want to see my boyfriend. I know I want to do something fun on Friday Fundays. But as far as goals? Really what I want from myself? From life? I haven’t really thought about that since, well probably since I wrote this list in my Creative Writing class in February.
Here is what the list says:
I WANT TO:
• Build beautiful meaningful relationships
• Take better care of myself
• Surround myself with a tribe of likeminded people
• Write more
• See my best friend more
• Finish my book(s)
• Have more friends over to the flat
• Know myself better
• Heal from past hurt and be there for others on their journeys
• Discover more about Berlin
• Eat good food and drink all the time
• Be more active physically
• Spend more time being creative/artsy
• Do less work/ make more money
• Get a haircut that I like
• Have a lot more sex
• Be more open about my wants and boundaries and learn how to better express them
• Be more consistent in blogging
• My family to understand me better
This is a good list.
As I read through this. I felt good. I felt happy. I felt accomplished. I feel like these are things I am accomplishing. Doing. (Well most of them, if you follow me here on Medium, you know I have been pretty darn inconsistent in managing my blogging!)
This is why I DO get up and get out of the house. This is why I CAN move from the couch to a new cafe in a different neighborhood. This is what my list of wants does for me. It reminds me of the kind of life I not only want, but I have. A life I have purposefully crafted.
This life: expat in Berlin, freelance, traveler, writer, didn’t just happen to me. I worked little by little to create the life I want, to make myself into the person that I am, someone who no longer follows what is expected of her, but a person who is living her life authentically.
I am going to print this list and hang it up on the door. I can’t promise it will be easier to get up and go to my writing group tomorrow morning, but I can promise you that to see this list, is a really helpful reminder of how far I’ve come and what a great life I live.
What is your reminder? What helps you stay motivated and energized? What is your inspiration for living a good life? I’d love to know!