5 Things That Make Me Happy I’m Alive

This is my fourth in a series of posts inspired by this post at the blog Weightless. The author Margarita has basically issued a call to arms to make five short lists of five positive things about ourselves.

Here are the five topics Margarita recommends:
Five things you love about yourself (read my list)
Five things your body can do (read my list)
Five things for which you’re grateful (read my list)
Five things that make you happy you’re alive
Five people (or pets) who you love

Today’s Assignment:
5 Things That Make Me Happy I’m Alive.

If you feel like sharing, post your responses to comments – and feel free to keep ’em short and sweet… or go to town and tell us all about you. You’re even welcome to email me and be a guest post-er, if you’d like.

I am all about gratitude these days, so choosing only five was pretty tough. This seems like the kind of exercise that would be valuable to re-visit periodically, no?… like a benchmark WOD done monthly or quarterly just to see how things are going. For now, here are my five.

1. Prague and Paris.
Both of these cities are magical to me. Everywhere you look, there are stories: in the patterns of the cobblestones under your feet, in the wrought-iron gates around a vibrant green park, in the statues and mosaics and murals on the walls and roofs and balconies of buildings that have been standing since well before the United States was born. Both cities are dissected and fed by a river that invites strolling, pondering, picnicking… and the music of the unfamiliar language requires both careful listening and a willingness to let go of unnecessary nuance. As a writer, it’s fascinating and freeing to let go of the intricacies of word choice and rely instead on simple communication. Although I can’t visit them as often as I’d like (right now), Prague and Paris make my world a brighter place.

2. An ocean breeze.
In moments of stress or sorrow, if there is one place that I wish I could be instantly transported, it would be the water’s edge so I could fill my lungs with salty fresh air. The beach at Tennessee Valley in Mill Valley, California. A pier on the North Sea in Holland. The foggy cliffs overlooking the Bay in San Francisco. A mussel-encrusted jetty in Cape May, New Jersey. A palapa in the sands of Playa del Carmen, Mexico. These are the beaches I’ve known, and they’ll all do quite nicely. Can someone please finish building the teleporter?

3. Loud music.
Yes, meditation and yoga and getting busy with the barbell are all excellent ways to quiet churning thoughts and shake off everyday nuisances. You know what else works? Really freakin’ loud Social Distortion or The Clash or, on the right days, J.Lo. and Barry Manilow. It’s pretty hard to maintain mental whining when I’m singing along from my guts.

4. The post-event de-brief.
One of the most delicious moments of an otherwise good time – a wedding, a party at a friend’s house, a concert, a dinner party at our house – is when the festivities are over and all that’s left is family. That’s when I can banish the gloss of good manners and get real. Do you do that? In the car ride home or washing up after guests have gone home… you talk in an almost-whisper with your husband or dear friend or your mom and conspiratorially share your true thoughts about the (mediocre) appetizer, the (innappropriate) outfits, the (overrated) opening act? I love that moment when I hear the secret thoughts I’ve been holding in come out of someone else’s mouth and realize, “Oooooo! You thought that, too!”

5. Whole-hearted crying, fully-committed laughter.
There is no finer reminder of being alive than fall-down-on-the-floor sorrow, and, equally, unbridled amusement and joy. I revel in them both because we can’t have one without the other.


5 Things For Which I’m Grateful

This is my third in a series of posts inspire by this post at the blog Weightless. The author Margarita has basically issued a call...

Read More
Guest Post: 5 Things My Body Can Do

In response to my list of 5 Things My Body Can Do, my pal Nathan offered to write a guest post about the five things...

Read More


  • Jojo Ninja says:

    Totally agree with 4 & 5! The post-event de-brief in the car with my husband is always a highlight of my night! It reminds me of why we’re together too; we think the same thing SO often.

  • Nicole says:

    1. Living the joy of truly being married to my best friend and the love of my life. Going on 10 years and still get butterflies when he walks into a room.

    2. CrossFit- not only does it kick my butt, it challenges me, makes me strong, makes me want to be better and makes me feel alive!

    3. Random Acts of Kindness- I love it when you see one person reach out to another and just make their day. It is the simple things and it reminds us that we are all human.

    4.Any time spent with my girlfriends. There is nothing better than feeling that sense of true friendship- feeling like you are sisters of the heart. Always lots of laughter and tears.

    5. Reunions- we are a military family so being reunited with my husband after deployments or even just being reunited with our extended family after living far away has been a big part of our lives. Being apart is heartbreaking but when we get to wrap our arms around our loved ones there is nothing better.

  • Laura says:

    1: The Soldier. He is too cool for words. The dude gets to fly Blackhawk helicopters for a living. And then comes home and tells me about it. And then does yard work. And then eats my Paleo foods!! He’s a keeper. (and he better be..going on 14 years….)

    2: The poopsters. I have the Miss Sully…who is 9 and so funny and has the best character and is so smart. She can open the fridge and eat the meat…even when its in a drawer! And then…we have The Mister Itchy Balls…who is 2…and that is all I have to say about that.

    3: Food. I liked food? but processed. Horrible food. Untill I researched and started to love what real food I could cook with real spices to make that stuff GOOOOOOD!!! (btw…had the carnitas from this site tonite…blown away)

    4: My family. I met my birthmother four years ago. So I have two adoptive parents who are incredible (one who is in China right now and can’t stop talking about food….man). And then I have my whole biological family…two half brothers, a birthmother who has loved me since day one and a whole family who has celebrated my birth…that is one in a million.

    5:words….what would YOU do without the majic of words? Undulate? Interlooper? Brilliant? Think about it…what is your favorite word?

    • Mel says:

      The Soldier sounds like a badass — and, therefore, you are a badass, too, if he likes you 🙂

      And yes, words are magical. My favorite word? I really like unctuous, although it’s not really a nice word, is it? Also: communique. And ‘adore.”

      Thanks for sharing your list!

  • Jeanne says:

    I love Cape May, NJ. Went there every summer as a kid.

    1. I love an ocean breeze, but the sound of the waves is even better. I love to stand on the beach, close my eyes and just listen.

    2. A good cup of coffee. Especially in the company of a good friend.

    3. Riding on the back of a Harley on a beautiful, sunny day. Or any day for that matter. Don’t have my own Harley…..yet.

    4. My courage. I am picking up and moving to a new town and starting a new job, possibly 2. I alternate between great excitement and great terror, but I feel alive and grateful that I have the courage to see this through.

    5. Art. I love a beautiful painting, doesn’t matter who painted it. I love being able to stop, look at a painting and feel moved is some way.