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thoughts on living well, grocery dates + gratitude

January 23, 2012

This weekend was marked by a whole lotta “get up and go” energy. I cleaned a lot. I scrubbed. I swept. I rearranged. I folded. I tried to catch up on podcasts. I made bags of stuff for Goodwill and stacks of books to sell. I made granola that made my whole apartment smell like the inside of a spiced chocolate cake. I put it in a big, pretty jar that makes me happy. I made cupcakes for my sister and while torching the meringue on top, I lit one of the cupcake wrappers on fire.

It was eventful in lots of small ways and seemed to imbue my very arms and legs with this quivering, inspiring energy that I can’t seem to shake.

In the tradition of Joy the Baker, whose random advice alongside yet another stellar kale recipe made me smile real big, I have some thoughts zooming around my dome that I wanted to share. I’m not sure if it’s because they’re valuable or because I just drank a lot of coffee. Nothing qualifies me to give any of this as advice except that it’s advice I myself need to hear over and over and over.

Go on lots of dates. And I’m not just talking about dates with menfolk (or ladyfolk). Those are fun, don’t get me wrong; you get to dress pretty (or handsome) and get doors opened for you (or open doors?) and stuff. But I think dates are much bigger than that. Go on dates with your friends; go to dinner and order fancy cocktails and split giant plates of enchiladas with extra hot sauce. Cook at home and drink out of mason jars. Go to the park and climb trees. Go on dates with yourself, even if it’s just grocery shopping. Treat yourself to the fancy peanut butter. Use your free drink on your favorite coffee shop punch card and bring a really good book. When I look at ordinary things like this as something special, it simply makes me more aware of how loved I am and how much I love. It’s a good thing.

Recycle/upcycle/reuse/reduce. It feels so much better than just throwing stuff away. Give things another chance at life and use. Use those spare socks as dusting mitts. Don’t use the plastic produce bags at the grocery store if you don’t have to. Bring your own bags everywhere, even when the people at the mall look at you funny. You’re saving trees and air and people.

Be thankful. It’s really that simple. Be thankful. For everything. For hot coffee, for clean floors, for surprise sister hugs. Be thankful even for the awful, crappy stuff that makes you cry the kind of tears where snot runs out of your nose and you feel pathetic. Be thankful for that. This is a posture and a way of looking at life that I am doing my utmost to live into and live into well. I know so much of what I write may sound like a broken record, but I’ll say it again: gratitude is the best possible lens I know at which to look at life and really does make all the difference.

Smile at people. I walk to one of my jobs and pass a fair number of people on my way to and fro. I’ve started to intentionally smile at each person I pass, instead of staring at the sidewalk with my headphones in, convinced that everyone is going to mug me. You never know what something that simple can mean to someone else. If nothing else, it helps remind me that these people are real humans who are so very worthy of being loved and smiled at.

Listen to good music, eat more vegetables, buy less stuff. Live outwardly, love the people who deserve it the least, ask the hard questions, hug without reason. Don’t worry so much what other people think of you; it doesn’t really matter nearly as much as you think it does sometimes. (Plus you’re awesome.) Don’t speed or tailgate people when you’re driving; it’s just plain bad manners. Give yourself a break once in awhile; you’re human and screw up and it’s okay. Try new recipes, laugh really loud, wear skirts, call instead of text, invite people into your home as much as you can. Live the kind of life that fills you up to your toes.

“Trust steadily in God, hope unswervingly, love extravagantly.” – 1 Corinthians 13:13 (The Message)

3 Comments leave one →
  1. Nancy Carr permalink
    January 24, 2012 9:38 am

    Caroline – I am insprired to be reading your “pursuit” of happiness. As you have discovered, it’s not about self indulgence and the me, me, me stuff that the world wants us to embrace… but just in “right living”. To be true to our friends, our neighbors (see the Good Samaritan), our God and, this is also important, ourselves. Start your day with praise to Him…His mercies are new every morning. Now, we are armed for the day. You make me happy!! Love, Grandma

  2. March 7, 2012 10:01 pm

    I love your goals! I’m starting to make a set of goals each month so that I can look back and say “this is what I’ve accomplished.” But I definitely need to add some fun things like climbing trees and living more outwardly 🙂


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