My Favorite Things
I love when this list comes out every year; I like to daydream about owning the items myself or gifting them to others. Inevitably, though, I find myself cringing at some of the price tags and reminding myself that my current economic status is not equipped to sustain the purchase of the majority of these items. Which inevitably reminds me that the holiday season is approaching, and once again I didn’t:
Budget for the hit our finances will take in November/December, or
Do my Christmas shopping throughout the year to spread out the expense
In the past, this would’ve marked the beginning of my downward spiral into what we all experience when we start comparing ourselves to others. The haves and the have nots. But I’m learning to catch the spiral as it’s revving up and curtail it into a gratitude practice. Here’s what I mean.
The thing is, we’re all “haves” — certainly, we’re all at different stages of “having” at any given point in time. But if you take a moment to stop and think about the little things that you do have, you’ll come up with a lot. These are often the priceless or almost-priceless things, the things that don’t show up in the glossy pages of a magazine’s gift list six weeks before Christmas.
In short, it’s the good stuff.
So here’s my 104-item list of my current Favorite Things, in no particular order:
Waking up on a Sunday morning with nothing to do.
Waking up naturally, sans alarm (cat or otherwise).
When the seasons are primed to shift, the first day where it really feels like the next season is coming. The first crisp morning in September. The first warm afternoon in March.
Finding the perfect snuggle position (human or cat).
A hot cup of coffee and the Sunday Post.
The Samurai Sudoku that’s on the top of the back page of the Sunday Comics.
The uncanny, muffled quiet during and after a snowstorm, before people start emerging to dig out their cars and return to everyday life.
Seeing the first crocuses in the Spring.
The feeling of my Fitbit buzzing on my wrist because I’ve reached my daily step goal.
Waking up and taking an hour or two of “me” time to do whatever — write, move, play — before diving into “them” time.
Hitting “publish” on a new post.
The fuzzy warmth of my cats’ bellies, especially after they’ve been curled up sleeping for at least an hour. It could melt the Grinch’s heart.
The peace of a clean house.
When the stars align and my voice is at the perfect readiness to perfectly belt out the perfect song that just came on the radio.
Changing a book’s status to “read” on my Goodreads list.
Changing the next book’s status to “currently reading” on my Goodreads list.
The first bite of something I’ve been craving and finally let myself have.
When my dining companion (who I always share food with) tells me the two dishes he or she is most interested in ordering, and it’s the same two dishes I want to order.
Getting goosebumps from a particularly impressive movie trailer.
Taking a break from whatever I’m doing to walk over and scratch a cat belly (see #12).
Going to the movies on a Wednesday.
Lighting a Bathing Raven scented candle.
Writing at my antique secretary desk. It’s a family heirloom and makes me feel more connected to the earth somehow.
Indulging in an impromptu face mask session.
Taking a bath.
When I’m lying down and a cat comes up and lays right on top of my belly, even if it makes it harder to breathe. (Worth it.)
Listening to a Brené Brown audiobook.
Listening to the Oprah SuperSoul podcast.
Texting people Bitmojis to let them know I’m thinking about them.
Baking. But not cleaning up the kitchen afterward.
Spinning around on my office chair like I used to do when I was a little girl.
Feeling my muscles relax when I take a nice, hot shower.
Watching the cats get high on catnip.
When the cats hunt leaves in the Fall and proudly bring them inside for us and strut around when we tell them, “Good girl!”
Ordering sushi on a Friday night and watching a food documentary on Netflix.
The ecstasy of seeing one of my favorite movies suddenly hit Netflix — it feels like a free gift.
Recording my podcast with my bestie every week. It’s our virtual happy hour.
Coming up with the perfect signature beverage for each week of said podcast.
Sitting on the balcony on a chilly Fall night, bundled up in multiple layers and a blanket, drinking a bourbon by candlelight. Feels like camping, minus the bugs and dirt.
Working at Starbucks. If that makes me basic, then basic I be.
When the music in my earbuds is perfect for whatever I’m out doing and it feels like it’s a personal soundtrack to my personal movie.
Turning my car heater up to “max” and positively roasting myself until I get to my destination, so much so that if I hug the first person I see, they’ll feel the residual heat.
Hugging my daddy. There is nothing like it in the world.
Being able to maintain peace and calm in the midst of chaos (see #26).
Eating Mexican food. Tacos, enchiladas, nachos, taco salad, etc. Just gimme extra sour cream.
Feeling my back relax when I go for a walk to loosen it up and knowing the walk was a good decision.
Playing Mannheim Steamroller CDs while celebrating Christmas. Or just any old time.
Watching Netflix and laughing at the exact same time as your viewing partner. It’s magic.
Listening to Elizabeth Gilbert speak.
Finishing Money Love (monthly budget-balancing). Even if we’re in the red, it’s empowering and calming when we know exactly where our finances are.
Looking up at the night sky and seeing Orion’s belt — it’s always the first thing I see, even if I’m not looking for it.
Watching the cats circle my feet like sharks when I’m prepping their food.
Watching the cats literally grab human food with their giant polydactyl paws. It’s so fucking cute.
Flipping to a new page in my paper calendar. Fresh starts excite me.
Starting a new to-do list (see #55).
Crossing something off of a to-do list (see #56).
Putting away the last bit of laundry and knowing that every single item of clothing I own (except for what I’m currently wearing) is clean and organized.
That day in the Winter when you suddenly realize that all of the trees are naked.
That day in the Spring when you suddenly realize that all of the trees are green again.
Going to the dumpster and putting way more stuff in the recycling container than in the trash container.
Hearing that someone’s enjoyed something I’ve written.
Listening to Enya music. It feeds my soul.
Remembering to not apologize when I’m about to apologize for something that I don’t need to apologize for.
Getting into a complete groove in the kitchen. The zone.
Getting into a complete groove while I’m writing, where it just pours out of me and I know it’s not just me that’s writing it.
Running into my daddy in public and yelling, “DADDY!” at the top of my lungs, no matter how far away he is. It embarrasses the hell out of him but IDGAF.
Still calling my father “Daddy.”
When the cats meow a question and it actually sounds like a question because the end of their meow goes up.
Going to the symphony.
When I’m able to completely lose myself in a movie, song, show, book, or other medium.
Those rare occasions when I’m completely, utterly, fantastically in the moment (see #26 to learn my secret to being able to to that more and more).
When the cats meow but it turns into a yawn so the meow gets all high-pitched and squeaky.
Rediscovering the joy of novels. I do it multiple times a year. I hope that one day it just sticks.
When the cats are sniffing the air and their noses twitch up and down like a rabbit.
Going on vacation — like really going, meaning that electronics and phones are either put away or turned off completely. Detachment.
When I come home and the cats run to the door to greet me an their low-hanging bellies swing back and forth while they trot.
The taste of scrambled eggs made with butter.
Warming my cold winter hands over an active toaster, a computer fan, or the space heater.
Re-reading Harry Potter. Sometimes it’s just the escape I need.
A really good bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon. And that doesn’t necessarily mean expensive.
That first burst of cool air when you come inside from a hot summer’s day.
That first burst of warm air when you come inside from a cold winter’s day.
Creating summer any time of year by making stove-top s’mores.
Remembering that I have unused Southwest beverage coupons.
Watching a food series on Netflix and being re-inspired to play with my food.
Transforming leftovers into a new dish (which often just means turning it into soup, but still).
The freedom of a mid-day walk.
Going out to breakfast.
Laughing so hard that I’m crying, my face hurts, and I can’t breathe.
When the cats settle next to me while I’m writing. I like to think that they find the clicking of the keyboard to be soothing.
Playing tourist in my own town.
Long-sleeved shirts with thumb holes.
Hitting “play” on one of Spotify’s lounge playlists and pretending I’m Carrie Bradshaw.
The euphoria of finally coming up with a word, name, or other piece of trivia that I’ve been trying to think of. Sometimes I can actually feel which part of my brain it came from.
Squirting canned whipped cream onto a piping-hot mug of Land o’ Lakes hot cocoa.
Putting on lipstick and instantly feeling 1,000% times hotter.
The magic of ear warmers.
Watching re-runs of The X-Files and reminiscing about my over-the-top adolescent obsession with David Duchovny.
Watching The Great British Bake-Off and wanting to bake All the Things.
When a brilliant idea comes to me in the shower. They always seem to come while I’m in the shower.
The power of a deep, focused breath.
Challenging myself to find fulfillment and joy without spending any money.
Spending the day writing about 104 of my favorite things while wearing hot-pink leggings with cat faces on them.