Before this day is over, I want you to go do something you love. Something you stopped doing for one reason or another. Life changes, jobs change, you got married, had kids, moved, income goes up and down and sideways, our friends change and on and on. Some of our most favorite activities in the world begin to get neglected, forgotten and soon we stop doing them completely. But it’s not because we stopped loving the activity, it’s because we forgot how much pleasure we get from it. Sometimes we just need to be reminded, and sometimes it takes someone encouraging you to dropkick your routine to make room for a long-lost-love of an activity into your day. You will not regret it.
I just got back from a four mile run in a torrential downpour in the midst of a flash flood warning here on the Big Island. I feel like a million dollars. There’s something about the feeling you get from the running, the exercise, being outside, and seeing the local beauty all around you. I haven’t gone for a run in over 6 months, ever since moving to Hawaii. My reasons for stopping were that I now surf multiple times a week, which is great exercise, and it’s pretty hot and humid here, which means that sweat erupts from your body the moment you start to move. What got me out running this morning was that a friend of mine here, Noah, called me up and asked if I wanted to go out for a run. I said why not.
From the moment we started, the reasons I used to run all came back. When I got home, got hydrated, stretched out and cleaned up, the post-run feeling surged through me. The only way to describe it is that you just feel really invigorated. As I sat here thinking about it I asked myself why I had stopped. That’s when I realized it was because I had forgotten how much I loved it, and forgotten how it made me feel. Too much time had passed since I had last run and it took someone harassing me into digging out my running shoes and hitting the road to remind me.
Maybe you need a reminder, so here are some sample ideas. Sports you used to play, fishing, hiking, long walks, sitting in parks relaxing, swimming, boating, hunting, camping, chess, board games, napping, good books, dating your wife or your husband, going to the movies, riding your bike, volunteering, teaching, helping your neighbor, cooking your own food, playing with your kids, throwing the Frisbee, building something, doing a puzzle, having a pint with your friend, working in the yard, ice skating, watching the sunrise or the sunset, playing catch, planting a garden, lying under the stars, writing, singing, drawing, going to the zoo, rollerblading, playing video games, swinging at the playground, driving a remote control car or flying a remote control airplane or drone, going to a u-pick farm to pick fruits or vegetables, making paper airplanes, photography, computer programming, garage sailing or listening to music you haven’t listened to in years. There are countless others.
I think that we need to make time in our schedules to do things that make us happy. Not because we are selfish, but because we want to be healthy. A lot of the things we love to do coincidentally tend to often greatly benefit our health. For example, physical activity keeps us in shape, gives us more energy, helps us sleep better and feel better about ourselves. All those things are essential for healthy interactions with others. Helping others or taking part in charity work helps us keep life in perspective. Various social gatherings helps us foster much needed friendships. Almost all of the activities help us relax and take our minds off of the stress and pain that so easily suffocates our lives. Others help us get much needed mental and physical rest.
There are endless reasons we give for not doing the things we love anymore, but I believe there is one that is the biggest culprit. We are a forgetful people. We forget how good something felt, we forget how good something looked or how good something tasted. We forget about the excitement, the wonder, the discovery, the camaraderie, the intimacy, the bonds and the happiness. Though we may forget how an experience once made us feel, our minds do not forget that which we once labeled significant. No, we tend to etch in our minds forever the things that bring us joy. So stop for a minute and think about how you used to spend your time. Pick the one that sticks out the most, or that you are currently being given the opportunity to do. Then go do it, and remind yourself why you used to love it.
What are you thinking about doing again that’s making you smile just thinking about it? What did you used to love doing? Please share your stories!