Library and Gym- check, check
My first full week up in Portland is complete and I’ve definitely got a better handle on various amenities in the neighborhood, traffic patterns and blase way that GPA will bring me to a unprotected left turn just to have me barely escape with my car and person in tact, and probably most importantly where all the dishes go once they come out of the dishwasher. Beyond that my highlights have been getting a library card and joining a gym. While these things might not seem all that important in the grand scheme of things or warrant a blog post, they actually mean a whole lot to me and my new life up in Portland and here’s why…
I recently started answering some questions to help me discover my most meaningful pursuits (here’s the list if you are interested: http://www.becomingminimalist.com/meaningful-pursuits/. I’m hopeful that answering these questions will help me direct the path of some of the next big decisions in my life. In reflecting on the first question on the site (“What currently leads to most of my happiness and fulfillment?”), I confirmed that two of the top things that lead to the most happiness in my life are reading and working out, so a library card and gym membership are huge steps towards a happy life for me. In many ways books and a good sweat provide similar benefits to me- they help quiet and distract my anxious mind. Exhausting my body also exhausts those little voices in my head that tend to run around like chickens with their heads cut off, worried about everything and anything, but doing little to solve problems or make plans for improvement. It is really hard to worry about mostly trivial matters when my greatest concern is not falling off the elliptical machine or hyperventilating while trying to keep my heartrate high. Reading has a similar effect of taking my brain to a different space and giving it a job to do. Whether that job is simply to imagine the scenery, conversation, or other situation in the book, or something requiring a bit more brainpower like analyzing a story, thinking about how it applies to my life, comparing it against others or forming an opinion on the material, it is all a welcome challenge.
The other things that came to mind for me when I thought about the 20% of things that lead to 80% of my happiness were writing, having conversations (deep, funny, academic, you name it), regular community building around activities like games (bowling, board games, ping pong, etc.) and hanging out with my new best mate, Ian, age 4 months. Time will tell how these will impact my future, but I’ve got some ideas in mind. Surprisingly for me outdoor activities, travel, watching soccer games, eating out, those things that I either do quite often or think I should do more often didn’t show up. Go figure there’s a difference between the things that bring us the most joy and the things that show up on our status updates!
So I leave you with the question of what leads to the majority of your happiness and fulfillment? How are you putting aside time to engage in those things and how are you seeking them out if they aren’t a current part of your life?