My Happy List

By: Loolwa Khazzoom, Founder, Dancing with Pain

July 28th, 2009 • Mind-Body MedicinePrint Print

A new acquaintance in my spiritual group told me that a veteran in the group always asks people what they have done each day that simply makes them happy. Usually, the man shared, there is always a big silence following the question – as there was in my head, while I imagined my own answer.

So I decided right then and there to make a list of what makes me happy. The thing is, as I knew would be the case, lots of these things seem out of my reach at the moment, because of my chronic pain and limitations. But I decided I would write them down anyhow, then begin taking steps to make them doable.

I started off with bike riding to the beach (which I did that day and am about to do when I stop blogging) and hiking in a park. Hiking is a big fucking stretch for me, given all my ankle issues, but I decided I would do the work/make the effort to find some local parks with flat dirt paths, and begin there. After I biked to the beach, I stopped at REI to get some introductory hiking shoes. (Finding shoes is a whole other category, will blog about it ad nauseam in the next week or so.)

Here is my happiness wish list. I’m going to have to work slowly but methodically at either modifying activities or finding people who can do them at my pace. Speaking of which, one of my fab new friends (from the BlogHer conference) and I decided that we have to put together a chronic pain/chronic illness travel group for adventurous spirits with physical limitations. Together we can support each other through active travel across the USA and world. Yeah!

OK now for my happy list:

  1. Dance (easy – living room)
  2. Blog (doing it)
  3. Bike to/on the beach path (doable now)
  4. Drum (need to buy a new djembe, since the one I own is in storage in Israel. Already went to REI to buy a stool so that I can go to drumming circles and be able to sit, since standing long periods is a no-no at this time.)
  5. Sing (already fished out my old voice lesson tapes, began doing singing warm-ups every morning before I went out of town)
  6. Hike in a nature reserve (already bought hiking shoes, need to research places to hike)
  7. Play volleyball on the beach (need to find people who are willing to do this slowly and gently)
  8. Play basketball (ditto on finding peeps)
  9. Jog on the beach (start off by walking regularly)
  10. Write music (Oy. Need to get all my musical equipment together.)
  11. Perform music (Start off with singing a capella at open mics, then slowly put together another incarnation of my band.)
  12. Read novels (bought one to read before I go to sleep, as part of my slow-down routine.)
  13. Speak Hebrew (joined a Hebrew class, will order and install Israeli cable, though there are technical issues getting satellite where I live.)
  14. Talk to my mom (a given)
  15. Talk to my friends (making an effort to reach out to people I think are very cool but whom I generally don’t turn to. Also making an effort to meet in person, instead of just on the phone.)
  16. Make new friends (using to find new like-minded people. Also need to look at the local paper/online calendar, to choose some events that will be fun.)
  17. Travel (this is a biggie. I need to find travel buddies and scope out places that will be safe for me in terms of all my health issues. I also need to take a big breath and get over my fears of flying and driving. Or maybe I can go on biking adventures?)


Sarah July 28th, 2009

Dude–we are SO traveling together. I also am inspired to make a Happy list. Also need to update my Dream To Do list.
I want to see Paris in April.

Hayzell April 12th, 2010

Great post Loolwa.  There’s lots of research on how simply thinking of three happy events (on a daily basis), no matter how small, can actually increase your overall happiness.  And by the way, if your travel group wants to come to England, you have a guide in Oxford :).  Gosh, how I wish our paths would have crossed when I lived in California.  Much love to you.

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