I’m a few days into my birthday month; ever since I first heard of it, I thought it was a wonderful idea. We all need to celebrate ourselves for a whole month, especially when our birthday falls on a work day – it’s the epitome of self-care. Since it’s been a rough few months for me, I made the resolution to focus on creating more joy for my birthday month.
What is joy?
Joy is defined as “an intense, momentary experience of positive emotion.”
We don’t necessarily think joy can be created on a daily basis. We reserve joy for the big events in our lives: birthdays, graduations, weddings. But in Joyful: The Surprising Power of Ordinary Things to Create Extraordinary Happiness, Ingrid Fetell Lee shows us that we can create joy in our lives with little design changes to our surroundings.
I’ve been trying to read more novels this year, get myself away from all the nonfiction/business books that have invaded my life. I love being pulled into a story, into a world, into a character’s life, and emerging a different person. That’s the beauty of all books, be it fiction or nonfiction.
My first travel post! Like I mentioned in my last post, traveling to Cuba was a spontaneous decision (spontaneous for me anyway). My school takes students on a business research trip to Cuba over the new year, so when it opened up I jumped on it. Then had second and third thoughts after submitting my application. (This was more a lack of confidence in myself rather than any hesitation about Cuba as a country.)
A couple of times I thought of emailing the professor to cancel my application (other students did, for various reasons). But somehow I worked up the courage to go on the trip and didn’t end up making a fool of myself on the assignments. And if I did, people were kind enough not to say anything.
I’m trying to read more fiction this year, and on an unrelated note, I’ve also been trying to cook more. Stove-top cooking isn’t really my thing; I much prefer the science behind baking. But when I came across Next Year in Havana, it brought back memories of my trip to Cuba. And ropa vieja.
I had never thought much about visiting Cuba until I got an email from school opening up the business research trip to first-years. I stressed about it for maybe 12 hours (that’s my MO, stressing about everything), then submitted my application before I could chicken out. Since I had no expectations (all I knew about Cuba was what was in the history books and also from I Love Lucy), it ended up being one of the most amazing experiences of my life.
So this book is less about finding your ikigai than about living longer and happier. While a long and happy life was never on my bucket list, I won’t be mad if it ends up being a side effect of my constant soul-searching. I picked it up because I still haven’t found my ikigai, and I needed more guidance than the last book, which was all over the place.
In the picture above, I made myself a hot cocoa because I didn’t have any coffee, and the life lesson here is: NEVER SETTLE. There are no substitutes for what you really want in life.