What do I enjoy?

Recently, I have found myself wondering what I really enjoy doing.  I have so many expectations for myself, activities I should try, places I should go, foods I should cook with, etc.  And while I do enjoy trying new things and pushing myself outside of my comfort zones, I think it is also important for me to simply enjoy life sometimes, which raises one question.

What do I enjoy?

For a while, I think that I lost sight of the little things in life I do enjoy because I was so focused on trying new things or working or just getting through and surviving.  So I’ve both spent time thinking about what I enjoy and asked a dear friend who has known me for years to remind me what activities bring me delight and joy.  To be honest, once I thought about it, the following list was not surprising since these are activities that I have enjoyed for a good long time.

  1. Exploring and traveling – I genuinely love to wander around and discover new places, which is probably why I love to travel.  I have yet to travel the world, but I hope to one day.
  2. Playing the piano – I began playing the piano when I was six and was even a piano performance major prior to injuring my wrist in college.  Playing the piano is one way that I express myself, a comfort that I can always turn to.
  3. Listening to music – Along with playing music, I love listening to music, analyzing it, or just enjoying the moods it evokes.  I love my tried and true favorite artists, but I also love learning about new artists and expanding my musical horizons.
  4. Writing – Though I am afraid of failing and therefore don’t write or blog as often as I should, I find writing to be very therapeutic and simply delightful.  Once I injured my wrist, I began to use writing as an outlet to express myself and my thoughts, even if it is simply in my journal.
  5. Reading – My punishment as a child used to be that I was forbidden from reading.  From an early age, my mother instilled a love of reading that I still maintain.  I was an English Literature major post wrist injury solely because I love to read.  I now try to read at least one new book a week.
  6. Taking pictures – Though I’m definitely the most amateur photographer ever, I find great delight in taking pictures of random objects in my life.  My most favorite way to take pictures is to just take my camera with me on a walk or exploration and photograph what I find to be interesting.
  7. Planning and organizing – I’m an organizational freak.  Organizing and planning soothes my soul.  When I’m upset, I’ll often organize; my thoughts sort themselves out as I physically sort through and organize whatever happens to be lying around.  The ability to organize and carry out a plan is so refreshing.  I love to plan, even though I know my plans will always change.  At least I figured out the puzzle of the plan and understand its components first.
  8. Cooking – This hobby is more recent than most, but I have really enjoyed cooking and trying new recipes.  I like to play with flavors and think of new recipes, as well as being able to cook a delicious meal when I’m just craving homecooked goodness.
  9. Baking – Though I don’t typically have a major sweet tooth (pregnancy has changed that a little), I enjoy baking.  Being able to create a good scone to go with my morning coffee or pie or cake for a friends’ birthday is just amazing.
  10. Conversing with friends – What can I say?  I love a good conversation with people I love.

While I will definitely continue to push myself to try new things, I think I am going to try to make time to devote to the hobbies and activities I know I love.  So far, I have greatly enjoyed playing music while I’m home cooking or cleaning or reading.  I’ve spent more time in coffee shops talking with friends, reading, and writing.  It’s been good.

What do you enjoy?

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Post #13 – What I am most looking forward to this year

2011 promises to be an exciting year for me!  At the moment, I am still living in Yueyang, China which is always full of surprises and interesting interactions.  However, I am leaving in a week or so to return to Ohio to visit my friends and family.  I am definitely looking forward to that!  I have greatly enjoyed my time in China, but seeing my friends and family again will be so refreshing and encouraging!  It would be easy to say that visiting Ohio will be what I am looking forward to most this year, but it wouldn’t be true.

Right now, I am looking forward to the endless possibilities that 2011 brings.  I am moving to Portland around March, which will be an awesome new experience.  Living in Portland will be the first time that I have lived in a bigger city.  Portland is also home to many, many coffee shops, which I love already.  In addition to enjoying city live and all that Portland has to offer, one of my best friends lives in Portland, so I am looking forward to spending lots of time with her again.

However, I am most looking forward to new experiences.  I love to travel and am most likely going to pursue moving abroad again in the fall.  I love connecting with people and moving to a new city offers me plenty of opportunities to meet all sorts of people.  I simply cannot wait to see what this year has in store!

Eat, Pray, Love

This memoir has garnered mixed reviews lately, with most people – especially women – either loving or hating it.  I must admit that I fall into the loving it category, though I can realize that this story is probably more accessible to a more introverted personality than to an extroverted personality.  Since I am definitely an introvert, I love her tale and the thoughts it provokes.

I found that this book is one to be savored.  I first read it over the course of an entire summer, an impossibly long time for me since I love to read novels in a day.  Elizabeth Gilbert’s prose captured my thoughts and imagination and really made me think.  Her use of words and images invited the reader into her thoughts and her world.  Gilbert’s language was accessible, imaginative yet understandable.  I loved that she told her story in a series of short stories, giving the novel structure while highlighting only the important moments in her life.  This structure eliminated long transitional passages, something I appreciated.  Gilbert wrote an engaging and well-written novel that is a pleasant read.

While some critics complain that Gilbert ran away, I think that she did what she had to do to pursue happiness.  I can relate, which is perhaps why I love this novel so much.  The way that she approaches her life, her thoughts themselves, mimic my own though I do not have the same opportunities that she does.  While Gilbert lived a life abroad for a year to learn about herself, this is not always possible.  However, I don’t think that this fact should negate the book’s overall thoughts and lessons learned.  People should give this book a fair read before passing judgment.  Let it sit and soak into the mind.  While rereading it quickly, I was more turned off to it.  It was too much, too deep to enjoy on a surface level.  I think that the movie encountered the same problem – too much, too quickly.  Give this book some time, absorb it slowly – it’s worth the effort.  Eat, Pray, Love is a spectacular read when given the chance.

 

Revamp

After much consideration, I have decided how to revamp this blog!  I will be posting three times a week – on my Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays.

Mondays, I will post a book review.  This will just be my thoughts and impressions about whatever I happen to be reading!

On Wednesdays I will write about the English language and/or writing.  This part is a little un-thought-through still, so please be patient while I sort it all out!

Fridays will be a free day for me to write about whatever I want.  Books, writing, photography, culture, travel, music, movies, you name it!  If you have anything you would like me to talk about, feel free to leave a suggestion!

This format should both give this blog some much-needed structure and give me an outlet for all things non-China related.  I’m pretty pumped!  Let me know what you think!  Oh and this will officially start no later than Wednesday.  I have just finished a book, but I’m not sure if I’ll have the time to write a review tonight.  Maybe I’ll be able to post it by tomorrow.