Priorities and happiness

I think a lot about self-care.  A lot of people know that they should take care of themselves, but don't know exactly what that means other than some vague images of bubble baths and massages. There's no exact prescription for self-care, because each person's needs and desires are different. However, I can offer some ideas for how anyone can determine their own self-care plan.

First, you have to get to know yourself a little better.  You have to learn about your prioritiesThere are lots of things in this world that might be enjoyable, but we really want to learn what matters most to you. Take some time and reflect (or talk it through with someone who knows you well)--what would you do with your time if you only had five years, two years, one year, six months left to live? Most people answer these questions with things like: spend more time with family and friends, maybe more time in nature (beach or mountains), maybe more travel, or more artistic expression. There may be also things you haven't experienced yet that you don't want to miss.  Make this list good and long-don't worry about whether you can actually do any of them. Think of what makes you happy, but also what makes you feel fulfilled, what gives your life meaning, when you feel engaged and productive.

Then, really consider if any of these items are available to you. Often we cut off options because they might be difficult, expensive, time-consuming, or inconvenient.  But if you prioritize your well-being, you might be more assertive and creative in making some of those things happen.  Think about the idea of bucket lists--when people know they are dying, they often make the time and space to experience what they have dreamed of--swimming with dolphins, seeing Hamilton live on Broadway, or even gathering their friends and loved ones around them to spend time and enjoy each other. Could you possibly make any of these things happen, on a small or large scale, before you have a limited time to live?

It reminds me of when I was selling a home, and beautified it with landscaping, fresh paint, and fixing all the annoying little things that were broken.  It felt unnecessary to fix while I was still living there, because I didn't need the fixes, but then, after I fixed it, I felt kind of sad that I could have been enjoying these improvements while I was living in the home.

Similarly, why wait until you are running out of time to enjoy the things that might make you happier? You don't have to fly to New York to buy incredibly expensive theater tickets (but if you could, why not?), but do you love live theater? Maybe you might explore local theater, or even participate in theater yourself? If you wish you could go to Tahiti, could you go to your local beach more often? Could you save up for a trip to Tahiti, or fly to another wonderful, less expensive beach, or look for discounts on trips (you can put searches on online travel sites for sales on your desired destinations)? Have you always wanted to write a book? Maybe you can start with a blog, or interview people who have written books to find out what it takes, or start a short story, or take a class on how to write a book. There's always some way you can begin to explore your goal.

In summary, I want you to be happy, and I don't want you to wait. I want you to take extra good care of yourself, like you're important. If you prioritize your happiness, then take the time and interest to figure out what you wish you could do, and then explore how you can begin to add it in small or large ways into your life.