(More) (More) (More) Best Stuff I Ever Did to be Happy

My ongoing list of the Best Stuff I Ever Did to be Happy is now five parts, because I’m expansive like that.

Read parts one, two and three here; read part four here.

62. Took Twitter and email off my phone, as a forever-thing. There are some good reasons to have email with you, like, having to do with airplanes and, maybe [bites apple; pauses], hm, meeting updates? But, no: some vague expediencies are not worth the additionally decimated attention span.

63. Blackout curtains. They are, as we say, “everything.”

64. This is “in progress,” but, as much as possible: be the same person in every scenario. When you act substantially differently with different people and for different reasons, it’s your shadow-self doing it, and it’s consuming your integrated self, and the integrated self is what we’re after.

65. Treasured my “treasures,” like, set up a little place where I keep my tiny, sparkling bounty, anything especially new, or nice, just things that I want to look at in the morning and at night while I’m pushing jewelry on or pulling jewelry off. Like: Halloween candy-bounty style. Right now: a Chanel lipstick my friend was gifted at the last Chanel show in Paris (don’t worry, she got more); an evil-eye button my other friend got me in Greece; a card I gave my Golden Banana and then kind of kept for myself; my super-fave pen. My tendencies toward maximal minimalism (and, sort of, nihilism?) mean that everything goes wherever it goes and that’s it, a drum-tight operation, so having a kind of mantle-altar-shrine thing just there, BEING there, gives off a thick, salty wave of dopamine.

66. Pay attention to micro-obsessions, whatever song is on repeat or taste you want to taste or random aesthetic lick is doing it for you. It’s telling you something, and urgently, and you have to find out what.

67. Frequently engage in what I call “The Wondering” which honestly is just a daggy game where, when I’m in less-than-ideal emotional circumstances, I ask myself what I’d rather be feeling, via where I’d rather be, and what I’d rather be doing (and zero points for “hotel room, Bali, post-swim, pre-sex”), and sifting through some potential scenarios and the associated feelings-fields, which is how I found out I had an unresponded-to urge toward service ("It's like that book I read in ninth grade that said ‘’tis a far, far better thing doing stuff for other people’”), as a for-instance. This is how you can lead yourself toward doing what you actually want to be doing, like wowowowow, through feelings, and tracking back, instead of whatever shit your exhausted, conscious brain is offering.

68. The obviousness of automation escaped me because I’m so moody and hate being told what to do BUT now that I always water the tree, clean Jemmy’s funny little ears, and edit my organic grocery delivery order-thing on Saturdays, it all gets done and crucially gets done without me ever thinking about it, beyond the minor time spent doing it. GOOD.

69. “Create evidence of love” is real and obvious but can get harder and greyer when we’re mostly online with each other, especially in those friend-colleague-acquantance-community situations where it can feel weird to both do something, and not, so I wanted a rule for myself to just do the thing: send a card, or a note; send flowers; buy a gift; bring food. Every time I remember my own situations (after Simon’s mom died, primarily) and my own celebrations (like our big wedding-anniversary party; birthdays) I remember so well the physical manifestations — the evidence — of love: a bunch of oranges; lavender essential oil and gossip magazines; bottles of champagne; sticky notes. It can feel clumsy and annoying and expensive to create this evidence of love, but intention is nothing when it’s not made real, right? Also: “69.” Nice.

70. Eliminate domestic “drag” by not instigating or re-upping any new little errands or dumb tasks for myself. So if I have to return a broken pepper mill, I don’t want to then accept a gift card or store credit that I will have to go back to spend on something that will end up breaking or, inevitably, banal-ifying. A task like that has to be self-limiting.

Kate Carraway