Last week I had the rare occasion of an unplanned day. That’s not to say that I didn’t have things to do, because I always have things to do. It was just a period where there was nothing critical and, without any sense of urgency, I had foregone setting up my day. No lists, no schedules, not even an appointment or activity I had to drive someone else to. It was really almost an accident. I was wandering the house when I realized the day was luxuriously wide open.
Now usually when I have a sudden break my mind goes to “the list”. But for some reason, on this particular day instead of thinking, “What needs to be done next?” or “What should (guilt guilt) I do?”, or even “Crap! I’ve got to make a list.” Instead of thinking any of that, what popped into my head was… “What would make me happy?”
That’s not something that normally occurs to me, to ask myself what would make me happy. I am an adult, after all. I have things to do. That's my job. But I asked it anyway and you know what? It felt fucking great! In fact, it felt like a radical act. Like a fricking evolution of the mind/soul! Like something I should be doing all the time. It’s a question I can immediately answer in almost any given moment. What would make me happy right now?
The funny part was, the thing that would make me happy at that particular moment… it wasn’t being on a beach somewhere, or stuffing dollars down a hot stripper’s pants, or eating loads of chocolate… it was clearing off the table so I could decorate it pretty. See, that’s something that would have been on “the list” anyway. Most things that generally make me happy are everyday list items. But the thing about lists is sometimes they turn things into obligations and chores and urgency, even when they (and I mean me) don’t mean to.
(Such huge things, those little shifts in perspective. World shattering really.)
It feels much better to ask myself “what would make me happy”, instead of “what do I have to do next”. Because I’ll always have critical stuff to do.
But the majority of it, especially on those unplanned days… well, I think giving the happy ones priority seems like a really good idea. Almost radical.