With a new year around the corner, I’ve been thinking recently about happiness. How does one pursue it? And even more importantly, how does one catch it?
I’ve been learning happiness isn’t something you find, it’s something you live. Striving for happiness is sort of like pursuing the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow; if you focus too much on the treasure, you’ll completely miss the glory of the rainbow overhead.
It’s so important to be intentional about how you spend each moment. All these moments add up to make your life either filled with joy - or filled with stress, resentment, and anger. This last year has been so full with trips, family events, and working towards my future career. My time has never been so precious as it has been recently, so I’ve been working to focus more on the rainbow and less on the pot of gold.
As I recently shared with you, I use the analogy of Rocks to represent priorities. Big, Medium, and Small Rocks reflect high, medium, and low priorities, which has helped me identify what is truly important in my life. Today I’ll share my “rocks” with you; these are the priorities about which I feel most passionate. My rocks are different than your rocks - and that’s okay! However you choose to spend your time, I hope this season you give yourself space to ponder your rocks, your priorities, and your happiness.
Big Rocks (Top Priorities)
Community: Between my incredible partner, his awesome kiddo, my wonderful and gracious friends, and my ever-supportive parents, I can’t imagine a better community. This community is the reason I have so much love to give; my cup runneth over.
It’s not always easy to take time to fix dinner for friends. It’s not always convenient to pick up the phone and have a conversation. It’s certainly not easy to figure out the role of step-mom.
But man, is it rewarding.
Community is at the top of my “big rock” list. I’ll gladly and intentionally carve out time for these important relationships.
Health: I suppose it’s cliché for a dietitian to list “health” as a big rock, but the only way I’m able to give as much energy and love to the people around me is to take care of myself.
Physically, this means taking time to plan meals, cook dinner, and exercise regularly. Emotionally and mentally, this means taking time for myself, to go to a coffee shop alone or relax in sweats until noon. Sometimes pursuing health means having an Off Day. Always it’s about pursuing Balance and Rest.
My Full-Time Job: As it turns out, adults have to pay bills, so I spend a lot of time (40+ hours every week) at my full-time job. As such, I’ve come to the conclusion it’s important to find joy while I’m there. I am so thankful to have a job where I feel like I make a difference every single day and where my coworkers have become some of my closest friends. It’s not always a choice where to work, so I count my blessings to have a job that fills me up.
Medium Rocks (Normal Priorities)
My Future Career: I got goals, baby: a successful blog, an independent private practice, and so much more (stay tuned for things to come in 2019!)
As such, it’s required a fair amount of humility and grace for myself to move my “Future Career” down from a “Big Rock” to a “Medium Rock.” I’ve found - especially in this last year - that other things (ahem, other people) are just more important.
If there is a 9-year-old basketball game on the weekend, you’d better believe I’m there. I’m not missing coffee dates with important friends or volleyball on Sunday nights. I’ve learned the hard way this year sometimes it’s more important to do yoga than post a new recipe.
Putting my business lower on the priority list means I’m likely never going to be featured in a TED talk or change the way healthcare is delivered in America. And that’s okay with me. My career is a big rock, but there are other rocks which are more important to me.
Travel: If it’s any surprise to you I love to travel, check out my Wanderlust post. We’ll be hopping on a plane many times this next year - whether to visit family, celebrate milestones, or just to get away. Taking time for travel can be exhausting and expensive, but it closely relates to my other “rocks” - community and learning - so it’s an important line item in my time and financial budget.
Learning: Podcasts, books, nutrition journal articles, conversations with friends, world news. It’s important to me to continue to challenge myself and my way of thinking, so I actively put myself out there. It takes time, it takes effort, but it’s important.
Small Rocks (low Priorities)
Entertainment: Ironically, this thing called “entertainment” which by its definition is supposed to increase happiness actually adds very little to my life. I haven’t seen a movie in a theater in over two years. I turn the TV on for less than five hours per week total. The only game I have downloaded on my phone is Sudoku, which I only play on an airplane when I’ve run out of books to read.
Don’t misunderstand me; I have a lot of fun in life! It just comes in the form of having dinner with friends, traveling to see family, hiking in the mountains, and golf with my favorite human.
Beauty: I’m not very good at - and honestly have never cared much about - this category. I manage to put mascara on before work and take care of my hygiene. I feel it’s important my appearance is always professional, but beyond that it’s just not much of a concern.
For some, beauty is an expression of who they are. For me, focusing too much on beauty creates self-doubt and insecurity. Rather than allow this to create more anxiety for me, I actively try to spend my time on other “rocks.” (See: 5 Tips to Beat the Body Blues)
In this coming year, I challenge you to re-evaluate your rocks. Figure out what matters to you and pursue it relentlessly. Dream big, work hard, but don’t forget to love yourself, too.
Now go forth and kick 2019 in the ass.
With love from Peas and Hoppiness.