How to fall in love with your life

Watching the season finale of Grey’s Anatomy (anyone else still tuning in religiously?), I teared up a little more than I’d like to admit + thought damn, I’m in love… with this little life of mine. I started calling to mind all the things that set my heart a-flutter, perfectly soapy television + beyond. So here’s a non-comprehensive list about getting what’s good :)

treasure your people

photo credit: John Fetherston

If you’re like me, you can get stuck in your head sometimes quite often, trying to stay above water + get shit done. When you’ve spent just a little too long in that place, take a step outside of yourself + fall in love with your loved ones all over again. You know who your people are. These are just a few of mine :)

meet your hero

photo credit: Mati McDonough

Have you done this? If not, let me tell you: it’s glorious. You look up to people for a reason: by doing awesome things in their lives, they show you what’s possible in yours. If you’re brave enough to initiate contact, reaching out + meeting your hero can change your life in big ways, both subtle + concrete. If you can develop a lasting relationship with one of your personal heroes, stop pinching yourself for five seconds + pay attention to how your hero navigates the rocky terrain of being human: how they share, how they learn, how they balance work + play, how they nurture their creativity, how they collaborate with others. This is invaluable intel that will make you feel well-equipped to pursue the life you love. Your hero (or heroes!) don’t have to be super famous or accomplished; they just need to inspire you in a BIG way. Mati, thank you.

do something magnificent

photo credit: Samantha Johnson

A few weeks back, some brave friends and I “ran” the Golden Gate Headlands Half Marathon. It’s a good thing we didn’t scope out the course ahead of time, because there’s a good chance we would’ve dropped out or switched to the shorter course. So when we showed up on race day, we realized we had signed up to run up a series of hills mountains. I reserve the right to call them mountains because I was there! The course was crazy steep, crazy challenging, and crazy awesome. It took our breath away, and not just because we were not properly conditioned for such a feat. It connected us — intimately and acutely — with the magnificence of being alive. Note to self: do more things like this!

make something delicious

I don’t just mean mac’n’cheese (though that’s always a great option). Make something that delights any or all of your five senses. Bake a pizza from scratch. Arrange fresh flowers. Take an actual bath for the first time in years. Be deliberate, focus on quality, savor the experience — especially the tangible, physical elements.

I simply CANNOT get enough of Tracy McMillan these days. Whenever you read something that speaks to you on a holy-shit-I’m-turning-back-to-page-one-and-reading-this-all-over-again level, your life gets fuller, brighter, and saner — i.e. way more lovable. And shhhh don’t tell anyone but Audible is a super solution to the “I never have time to read for fun” quandary.

go

Mile Rock Beach with Rachel; photo credit: Alicia Dinsmore

One of my favorite quotes comes from Sabrina Ward Harrison: If you don’t go, you don’t see. If you don’t get out into the world, you’ll never experience all it has to offer. You don’t have to venture far… just get out there!

no really go

Nano Cliffs with the PC gang; photo credit: Katy Todd; photo edits: Samantha McCullough

Pull the rug out from under your feet. Surprise yourself. Go somewhere so far-fetched that it makes you wonder “Could I really…?” Yes, you could.

love your dog

Or your cat, or your baby, or your potted basil plant. Love something or someone that depends on you for food + water + affection. This is the kind of love that both annoys the hell out of you and opens your heart with a power that just seems silly. That silly love is the gooood stuff, the midday-dessert, collapse-into-bed-after-the-longest-day, squeezing-you-tight nectar of life.

marry yourself

India.Arie said “Put your salt on the shelf, go on and love yourself, ’cause everything’s gonna be all right.” Don’t just love yourself… put a ring on it. Make the commitment to never let you go. You don’t have to have a big lavish ceremony (I think I’ll stick to a private party), but you could. If you need inspiration (or help writing your vows!), SARK is the queen of all things radical + self-loving.

dance it out

Somewhere in Nevada? photo credit: Erica Pederson

DO IT.

pass it on

photo credit: Elyse Stefaniak

See that sunny station wagon right there? That is Splash. Or at least that’s what I named him when I bought him outright at age 18; he looked like a big white beluga whale. Splash was my trusty vehicle all through my college years: he kept me company during 20-hour marathon drives from Arizona to Kansas and enthusiastically participated in my free-spirit phase (thus, the Art Car). Then it came time to skip town and move to Togo, so I had to let him go. Luckily for the both of us, one of my dear summer campers was ready to buy her first car… Splash to the rescue! I signed over the title to her parents and Splash was mine no longer. His new mama gave him a bright new coat of paint (above) and I felt a peaceful wave of satisfaction knowing that something that could no longer serve me could serve someone else. This was one of the times I learned that corny little lesson: Give away your joy and it will multiply.

How do you fall in love with your life?

Happy Sunday :) xoxo

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