Here’s a challenging exercise: write down at least five things that you love to do (whether or not you actually do them) and five things that you do not enjoy doing. The poser of this task suggests that one of the best ways of determining what you love is to notice what makes you lose track of time.
In her book You Can Beat the Odds Brenda Stockdale reports that in a study at the University of Texas over two thousand people were polled in a national survey that assessed general health, physical function and how they spent time. They were asked about work, volunteer projects and whether they had an opportunity to learn new things or do something they really enjoyed. Not surprisingly, the overwhelming finding was that creative activity—defined as non-routine, enjoyable, with built-in learning and problem solving possibilities—helped people stay healthier and live longer. And this creative work can cause the body to appear nearly seven years younger than chronological age! Now that’s a motivating statistic!
So, what do you love to do? I’ve been thinking about my list. Like my sister, Susan, I love to entertain. I love the preparation: planning the menu, the cooking, setting the table, arranging flowers, lighting the candles. I like to have everything done ahead of time so that my attention is on the guests. It doesn’t have to be elaborate, but it takes a little thought.
I also like to exercise. I am my mother’s daughter! She frequently extolled the virtues of exercise. I have found yoga to be very challenging but beneficial, and I hate to see water aerobics classes come to end when the pool closes for the winter.
Music is another interest. Regrettably I have no musical gifts, but I can appreciate those of others. I particularly like familiar opera and classical pieces. A glass of wine or two and great music make for a wonderful evening.
I must also acknowledge that I like writing. This blogging experience has been so much fun for me. I like writing, but I also like reading what Susan and Martha have written. Your comments are great too! I guess that means I enjoy reading which is true. I participate in two book clubs. I often feel like there are so many literary treasures and so little time!
I think I’m already up to five things, but I can’t forget gardening. Admittedly, at this time of year in Texas the plants and I are ready for a dormant period. Where is that first cold snap?– But I’m also looking at fall bedding plants.
We all know that there are some activities that are unpleasant but unavoidable. I guess the antidote is to spend as much time as possible doing the things that you love. Have you started your list yet?