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Happiness Project 4.1: Cold Weather

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With winter officially starting soon, I must, of course, reflect on why cold weather makes me happy.

I can cuddle under my comforter.

I’m one of those people that sleeps with a comforter all year round no matter how hot it is, so it’s wonderful to be able to do it without worrying about waking up covered in sweat.

I can spend more time inside.

I love being outside, and it’s the only way I can truly do my sport, but I love being inside, too. My hobbies are better done inside and it gives me a much better excuse to do things by myself. Alone time is gold.

People don’t ask why you’re drinking tea or hot chocolate.

They ask me all the time when it’s 90 degrees F outside. In the winter, nobody questions it, and that’s how I like it.

It will snow.

And snow is a wonderful way to get out of classes and a lovely excuse to throw something at friends.

 
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Posted by on December 19, 2014 in Writing

 

Happiness Project 3.2: Coming Home

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It’s winter break, which for me means three weeks at home before heading back to campus. I’m a little sad about it since I love school and friends, but it’s also a good thing, especially this year.

I finally get a break.

Sure, anyone with a full-time job is probably rolling their eyes, but being in school almost constantly since June is tiring. I mean, the work is relentless, I add my own side projects, and I do sports, have multiple jobs, and participate in multiple clubs. Many times I feel as if I may as well have a full-time job, plus perhaps a side job and maybe volunteering. Therefore, getting a chance to think about only the things I want to think about, to do only the things I want to do, and to eat homecooked meals is fantastic.

I get to see my dogs.

I have hermit crabs I keep at school with me, but there’s nothing better than a few dachshunds curling up against you all day because you both want to be lazy, or a puppy nudging you and curling against you as you do yoga. It’s relaxing and stress relieving to have them around. It’s also nice not to have to miss them.

There’s some family time.

No family is perfect, but I find it comforting and relaxing to be around mine. I’ve only been home maybe a total of two months this year, so it’s nice to see that they’re happy and healthy and to do things with them while I can.

I actually have time to do hobbies.

I like to read, write, crochet, knit, and exercise, and I don’t have much time to do all of those things at school. The only one I do on a consistent basis is exercise. For that reason, I love having more time to do things. I still have some academic things to do, but there’s still so much more time for activities I love.

I get my bed.

I like my bed at school, but there’s nothing better than coming home to your own room and your own bed. Plus, I’ve been getting a lot more sleep here.

 
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Posted by on December 14, 2014 in Writing

 

The Happiness Project 3.1: Finals Week

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With the absolute craziness that constitutes finals week, or the end of the year stuff at many companies, or even just trying to wrap everything up before the holidays, it’s difficult to remember anything except everything that needs to be done and the stress the comes with it. I chose this topic to recall why finals week is a good thing.

I can showcase the things I’ve learned.

This can be by presenting somewhere, finishing a project, or taking the exam. All of these things show what you’ve learned throughout the semester and the things that still need some improvement. I love that I can take an exam or do a project that I never would have been able to do before. I sit and think, “I did this. ME.” It’s a sense of accomplishment that nobody can take from me.

It’s good scheduling practice.

How much can you get done in a day? Finals week is a good time to figure that out. For instance, I learned it’s possible for me to watch 8 episodes of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., spend two hours at the gym, spend some time in class and at meals, AND write a five page paper all in the span of a single day. Granted, the TV episodes weren’t important, but I still managed to do it.

It’s also a good discipline test.

By the end of this semester I was ready to stop doing things. I’ve been at this school thing since June and adding extra projects to my to-do list, all of which resulted in a feeling of burn out even as I knew I wasn’t. Therefore, it was good to see that I can keep my priorities straight and get my work done instead of starting the second season of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D..

It marks the end of the semester.

And that means a real break (mostly). Yay!

 
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Posted by on December 12, 2014 in Writing

 

The Happiness Project 2.2: Goals

I apologize for the delay in posts. It’s been a busy few weeks.

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Last Saturday, I had the privilege of presenting at the Undergraduate Conference in Medieval and Early Modern Studies at Moravian College with two other students from my school. It was a rainy day, but it was also a terrifying, exciting, and joy-filled one. It was a goal reached. That got me thinking about why goals makes me happy, both when I reach them and when I simply have them. Here’s what I came up with.

It’s a little fun to be terrified under the right circumstances.

I was a little bit terrified the moment I found out I was accepted to present at the conference. The more time that passed, the more afraid I was, until the morning of the conference hit and I was nauseous and lightheaded all morning. There were so many things to worry about.

People were going to hear my research. People were going to have the opportunity to ask questions. People might tell me my thoughts have no merit.

But I’m at least partially an academic at heart and sharing my ideas is part of that. Therefore, I embraced the fear and nerves, because that just validated what I already knew and what people kept telling me: this is a big step. It’s a big step off the cliff called “adulthood.” I learned that I can save myself from that drop, and that there are plenty of people that care about me that will step in to help lift me up if I’m starting to lose my grip.

This is one step closer to bigger goals.

I have lots of goals for myself, including grad school. Presenting at the conference is one step closer to the bigger goals that have defined my college career. That’s what life is all about, after all: reaching goals only to find another one.

Having a goal is thrilling and purposeful.

I tend to get confused when I don’t have a goal to reach. What am I supposed to be doing with my life? What’s the point?

Having goals gives me things to do during the day and ways to combat the idea that life is pointless. It gives me things to talk about, things to research, and things to write about. Crossing goals off the list feels good because of the accomplishment, but I love even more being able to step back to my list of goals and figure out what’s next.

Goals are like hydra to me; you cross off one, and two more will take its place.

I can be proud of myself.

Every little step towards a goal and finally reaching that goal give me reasons to be proud about myself. Given I’m so critical to myself and tend to focus on things I do wrong, recognizing the improvements allows me to keep things in perspective and acknowledge that I can be proud of the things I’ve done.

 
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Posted by on December 8, 2014 in Life, The Happiness Project

 

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The Happiness Project 2.1: Rain

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This prompt is coming a little spur of the moment since it’s, well, raining. Normally, I would be neutral about the situation, but I want to be able to pole vault tomorrow, so I’m a little at odds with rain at the moment. It’s supposed to stop by morning, but I’ll believe it when I see it.

Anyway, on to the reasons rain makes me happy.

It perpetuates the circle of life.

Call me crazy, but I love plants. I love the grass and trees and flowers. I also love the bugs that eat the flowers and the things that eat the bugs and the things that eat the things that eat the bugs and well…you get the idea. It’s a messy circle of life, but a necessary one, as well, and I love that rain keeps that going. Even in the dessert, where it barely rains at all, plants and animals are able to survive because of what little rain there is. Isn’t that fantastic?

Walking through the rain is fun.

I used to hate when it rained. I hated cheering for football games in the rain and running in the rain and walking through the rain. However, after spending time in Scotland, I realized I missed the downpours that occur in my hometown almost weekly throughout the summer. In Scotland, when the weatherman would say “rain,” I learned that that usually meant drizzle or mist or slightly heavier than that.

One of the few times there was a downpour while I was there, my friend and I got caught a twenty minute walk from the city center (where the bus back to campus was) without any rain gear. We tried to avoid the rain for a while but then gave up and embraced it, and it was one of the most joyful times of my life.

That sounds bad, but it was nice to just be out under the elements, laughing, everything blurry because I took my glasses off, not worrying that the weather might ruin something because ultimately, it doesn’t matter. What matters is the fun–and that I was able to get inside and get warm within the hour.

Ever since then, I have a more joyful response to rain. Unless, of course, it’s going to mess with something I deem important.

Thunderstorms.

Where I’m from, rain often comes with thunderstorms, especially in the summer. They almost go hand-in-hand. “There’s a storm coming through” is heard much more often than “it’s going to rain.”

From a young age, I loved the beauty of storms. I can’t say that I was never scared of the thunder and lightning, because I’m pretty sure I was, but I began to watch the storms with my dad and that changed everything. Lightning is beautiful. Each strike is unique. When thunder rumbles, especially from nearby, it vibrates my chest in a way that reminds me I’m part of something so much bigger than my little house in town.

These storms also give me a chance to cuddle with my dogs. They’re terrified of thunder, so they always stick close.

 
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Posted by on November 23, 2014 in Life, The Happiness Project

 

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