Thursday, February 28, 2013

Sayonara, February!

The only way I know how to get through February is clinging to its holidays and events like life rafts carrying me through a vast, miserable ocean to March's greener shores. We've almost made it--three more hours and we can shake off the last dull droplets of this month. For being such a short month, it sure lasts a long time.

I've been in hibernation mode since my return from Wisconsin: sleeping in, working, eating, going to bed early and repeating. Once again, Alan Epstein has a list of small things to make us happier each month. Here's How to Be Happier: February Edition.

  1. Imagine you have six months to live. Hello, it's February. I felt like I died a little every day.
  2. Do something nice for an animal. I don't come into contact with many animals...but I do like to keep my meat consumption to a minimum, and what I do eat is usually local.
  3. Fall asleep reading one of your favorite books. Just about every night I read to the point of heavy eyelids. I fall asleep faster if I'm essentially already there rather than turning out the light and just telling myself to sleep.
  4. Start getting your taxes ready. Done. I have all the forms I need, just waiting on some motivation.
  5. Begin to plan a vacation. Done. I also took the vacation, last weekend, to Wisconsin.
  6. Let yourself cry. Done. I'm pretty okay at feeling my feelings.
  7. Be vegetarian for a day. Done. Done. Done.
  8. Complete each task you begin. This ties in nicely with my Lenten observance of cleaning up after myself and being aware of my presence.
  9. Completely serve another person. Does making Valentine's dinner for Jesus count? He helped some...I must have made dinner without his help at some point.
  10. Ask someone to be completely devoted to you. He returned the favor the day after Valentine's, taking me out to a Greek restaurant for my very first lamb (from a local farm!).
  11. Give yourself more time to do things. I always give myself extra time-padding and I'm amazed at how much less time I usually need.
  12. Improve your knowledge of history. I just read a novel set in Prohibition-era Boston and Miami. Even though it's fiction, I still learned background info. Isn't it crazy that something totally legit could be outlawed? (she said sarcastically...)
  13. Completely plan your day. When I first typed that I wrote "completely play your day," and I think I prefer that interpretation. Still, there's nothing I love more than a detailed list of things for me to do, guiding me through my day.
  14. Immerse yourself in love and romance. Done. See #'s 9 and 10.
  15. Put everything you value most in one place. The idea here is to make sure all your valuable belongings are stored in a safe place. I don't really have valuables, or a whole lot of space. My money is in the bank and pretty much everything else is in my bedroom. The things I truly value can't be "stored" in the traditional sense. I keep those things in my mind, my memory, my heart, and in my arms (if I'm lucky!).
  16. Put on a movie marathon. This one troubles me. I love watching movies, but if I watch more than about two, I feel like garbage, and if I watch at night I barely make it through one before falling asleep. Book marathons I can do.
  17. Visit a town close by you've never been to before. I would love to do this. There are several suburbs/outlying areas of Chicago that I want to visit as a tourist of sorts. Not in February, though. I want to enjoy my time.
  18. Fix up something you use frequently. I rearranged my room 2.5 times this month.
  19. Ask someone you admire to lunch. I can't remember the last time I was available during lunch time. Monday through Friday I'm at work, and the weekends are brunch time. I admire any and all stragglers who join us for brunch each weekend.
  20. Do everything for positive reasons. What Epstein means is, instead of saying "I have to clean my toilet," say "I get to clean my toilet!" Don't sweep because the floor is nasty dirty, think about the positive clean floor result instead. Cook because you are hungry, not because you will be crabby if you don't get food. I struggled with this one. It was more of a fake it til you make it kind of challenge.
  21. Pay attention to everything you eat and drink. This is pretty typical for me. We don't really have snack foods around the house, so if I'm eating or drinking it means I've put in some sort of effort to prepare the food. Hard not to think about it after chopping, sauteing, mixing, boiling, steaming, and/or baking it.
  22. Learn one new thing about how the US got started. One does not simply learn new things in United States history in an organic fashion--unless you are a frequent watcher of the History Channel, which I'm not. What I'm trying to say is, even after a Google search, I've got nothing.
  23. Visit a public library. Done! About once a week, without regard to the already large stack of books by my bed. Current reads: More Baths, Less Talking by Nick Hornby (a book about books!), tender hooks by Beth Ann Fennelly (poetry about motherhood highly recommended for parents, new and experienced), and A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness (a different angle on the witch/vampire phenomenon, so far smart and gripping).
  24. Search for something you've lost, but not when you need it. If I lost something recently, I also forgot it. Must not have been too important.
  25. Take a roll of pictures of one person or thing. This book was clearly written in the days before digital cameras/smart phones.
  26. Make a list of all the things you want to do today and cross off as you complete. See #13.
  27. Write out your life goals. In my journal.
  28. Celebrate something small in a big way. As I said earlier, I cling to February's holidays. Anything that could be celebrated this month, I did. Did I find a half-eaten jar of frosting in the fridge? Must be time to bake cookies! Have I not showered in several days? Turn on some music and light the candles, I'm taking a long bath! Did someone slip on the sidewalk? I guess the whole apartment gets to eat ice cream!
  29. Leap Day: If you are a woman, ask someone to marry you. I was disappointed in Epstein's Leap Day suggestion. Really? Just gonna fall back on lore? 30 Rock did way better with its Leap Day Williams "Real life is for March." Anyway, it's not a Leap Year, so I won't be proposing or doing anything crazy.
I guess this month wasn't the absolute worst of times--I made a lot of good food this month, celebrated some holidays, watched award shows, went home and saw friends and family, and made a slight dent in my to-read list. I'll call it a wash, and I'll call tomorrow a fresh start. Like literally, though, because I just threw out my dry February contacts and I'll open a new pair in the morning.

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