The PopSugar 365-Day Happiness Challenge Days 2-4

I really wish I could blog every day but, ain’t no body got time for that. So I must recount the last 3 days in one post.

Day 2: Sign up for a free exercise class

I wasn’t quite sure what that meant. Do I just sign up for the class and take it sometime in the near or far future? Or do I actually have to take the class on the very same day? I decided that signing up would be enough. Now living in a large city, I knew for sure that signing up for a free exercise class would be as easy as pie. So I needed to make this challenging. I wouldn’t sign up for just about any class. I would only sign up for an exercise class that pushes my boundaries, excites me and delights me. In my case, that meant martial arts.

There are several martial arts schools within walking distance of my studio apartment. What I didn’t know was that they never answer their phones. I spent the entire day speaking to the their faithful and courteous voicemail machine, leaving back to back messages like a crazy ex. It’s been 48 hours and I’m still waiting for a call back. Who knew that signing up for a free exercise class would be so hard?

What I did instead on that day is something that I do from time to time. I went home and had an impromptu solo dance party. Just me, my walls and my music. That day, I got down to some really good legendary Caribbean sounds from the likes of Tabou Combo and Wyclef Jean, who’s latest album I absolutely love. Does that count as a free exercise class? It sure does cover day 14 of this challenge.

Day 3: Rearrange your furniture or in my case play real life Tetris

Picture this: an ikea day bed, 2 ikea armchairs, an ikea desk with a desk chair, a tiny folding table a portable AC and 176 square feet worth of space. Got it? Now, take in the fact that you only have 2 walls to work with because the other walls are either perforated by a passage way or blocked by a yuuuge radiator that keeps you warm in the winter. Yes, it’s time to play real life Tetris with your furniture.

To make matters worse I had already rearranged my furniture 4 times in less than a year. I was running out of ideas on how to reposition my spare belongings in my tiny woman cave. But I could not skip this assignment. After a good Tetris round, I ended up with a not so perfect set up, but I like walking in and seeing those chairs inviting me to sit and watch the sunset with my fingers curled around a warm cup of tea or a cool glass of wine.

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Day 4: Start a Gratitude Journal

The past 3 days have not been the most positive. I had some really great moments of delight thanks to my fierce outfit on day 1, my dance party on day 2 and a glass of wine on day 3, but I wasn’t in the most positive mind set. Let’s blame that on lack of iron from recent menstruation. So, I am very grateful for Day 4 because it is really asking me to focus on the positive aspects of my life.

I already have a gratitude journal that I keep on my Iphone’s notepad. I started it in 2015. From time to time and the end of the year, I like going back and reading every single entry. It’s a great reminder of how blessed I am when looking at these events as a thing of the past. However, I am not satisfied with the immediate day to day effect. It feels great to write in my journal when something meaningful happens, like a sweet conversation with a family member or a new step towards my career goal. But most days, nothing special happens so I passively write down that I am grateful for being alive, for my family, my friends. Sometimes the gratitude journal just does not work. When all I can see are dark clouds and all I can feel is pain, I’m not grateful for anything. I’m not even grateful for being alive. Instead, I feel like a detained passenger ready to jump off the life wagon and throw myself onto the tracks of oblivion.

Apparently, I’m not alone.  According to a UC Berkeley article, gratitude journals don’t always work. The article also provides several tips on how to change that. One such tip is to avoid making a quick list of what I’m grateful for. Instead, I should elaborate on the details of why I’m grateful for a certain person or thing. I wanted to journal everyday and felt bad for not doing so but apparently journaling once or twice a week is more beneficial.

It’s been a while since I’ve written in my gratitude journal. My last entry was on 3/10/2017. I was grateful for the joy of wearing an afro to work, conversing with a saxophone player, paying off some of my credit card debt, seeing my little sister and submitting a research article for publication. Now it’s time to start journaling again. But this time I’m diving deeper starting with this first entry.

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Tomorrow, we bake a cake! Yippeeeee!

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