If you follow personal finance blogger and author Donna Freedman (and you should, because she’s awesome!) you know that she recently responded to a challenge by posting about 15 things she likes to do.
The original challenge called for twenty things, Donna said, but in the end fifteen were all she could come up with.
Being a completist myself (terrible habit, I know) I decided to see whether I could make it to the full twenty. Turns out I could.
So, in no particular order:
I honestly don’t remember a time before I could read, and I’ve always had a voracious hunger for words. Fiction, non-fiction, short, long, serious, fluffy–I devour it all. Having to read via audio instead of text has slowed me down a bit but the appetite remains.
I was in elementary school when I decided I wanted to write stories of my own for other people to read. That, too, is a thread that’s run throughout the tapestry of my life, sometimes on top and sometimes beneath the surface, to reemerge when it fits the design.
In 2005 I joined my first online writer’s critique group, and I was hooked. There’s something about looking at the nuts and bolts of someone else’s writing, figuring out what works well and what could work better, that makes it easier to improve one’s own.
From the intricacies of minuets and English Country dance to ballroom dancing to the sheer joy of moving one’s body to the beat of the rhythm of the night, I think there’s a force inside all of us that cries out to dance. I tend to gravitate to the more stylized variants myself, but it’s all good. I’d probably dance every day, given the opportunity.
One of my early memories is Mom taking my sister and me for walks in the evenings before bed. I don’t know if it was her intent, but I suspect we slept better for it. In retrospect, I remember a lot of walks with my parents–through the woods, along walking trails, and even (when we were stationed in Germany) on Volksmarches. In college, I thought nothing of walking for miles if I wanted to get somewhere. Since losing my sight, I’m having a hard time finding good places to walk, but it’s definitely something I want to do more of.
6. Do Arts & Crafts
If you’ve read my blog or known me for any length of time, you already know that I love to work with my hands and to make things. Embroidery, weaving, braiding and knotting, leatherwork, working with clay, felting, bobbin lace…you name it, I’ll try it. If I like it, I’ll do it again. I could probably make an entire list entitled “Twenty Arts & Crafts I Like to Do,” but that seems like cheating, so I’ve lumped them all together here.
There’s nothing as eminently satisfying as tucking into savory pot roast and vegetables over rice, or slicing into a fresh loaf of bread still slightly warm from the oven. Yes, I spend a lot of time in the kitchen, and yes, sometimes it gets old. But on those days when a favorite meal comes together or a new recipe works out just right, it feels pretty darn good.
Well, it just follows, doesn’t it? I’ve always enjoyed sitting down to a special meal with family and friends, but these days even when I’m alone I’m finding I have a whole new appreciation for the tastes, the textures, the sheer beauty of food. A little odd, maybe, but I’ve never claimed to be anything but.
9. Listen to Music
I’ve always had eclectic and wide-ranging taste in music, and that’s only deepened and expanded in recent years. Sometimes I feel like I’m more aware of music now, more attuned to its melodies, harmonies, rhythms, lyrics–all the tiny nuances that come together to make up the whole. But that could all be in my head.
10. Make Music
I had piano lessons when I was in middle school, and for years afterward I’d occasionally sit to the piano and play selections from my lesson books or, more often, the 80s songbook I picked up at a music store in the mall. Of late I’ve been thinking that I’d like to play again, though it’s a whole different animal when you can’t read the music. (More on that, perhaps, in a later post.) I enjoy singing as well, though I can’t claim any great skill at it.
One of my little quirks is that I like to sort, organize, and put things in order. Is it any wonder that one of my all-time favorite jobs was as a file clerk? When I didn’t have any records to file, I’d prowl through folders, looking for places where a sheet had gotten misfiled and created a tangle of incorrectly filed papers around it.
12. Help People
Whether it’s registering visitors to an event, critiquing a friend’s story, holding a group office or moving tables and chairs to set up a feast hall, I love pitching in and helping out. It was one of the things that drew me to the SCA, and feeling that my help was no longer needed or wanted was one of several factors that caused us to pull away again.
13. Learn Things
If money were no object, I’d go back to school and never leave. (Yes, I know there are a slew of places online that offer free courses.) It’s no coincidence that despite having withdrawn from the SCA almost entirely, MrH and I still attend University of Atlantia when we can.
14. Dress Up
I don’t necessarily mean getting all dolled up for a night on the town–though I do own an 18th-century ballgown should a situation arise that calls for that. Rather, I like to think that I’m becoming more aware of my clothes and what they say about me, and developing a personal style that sets me apart–but not too far apart–from the rest of the crowd.
Whether it’s a European tour or a roadtrip to another state, I like to go new places, experience new things, hear new voices/languages/accents, and generally get to know more of the world. We’re not able to do a lot of it right now, but it’s something I’d love to do more often.
16. Go Camping
I suppose this could technically go under travel, but there are campgrounds within an hour’s drive, so we’d hardly have to leave home. I suppose we could set up a tent right in our own yard, but that’s just being silly…
17. Go Swimming
Or at least, play around in the water. True fact: Despite years of childhood lessons, I’m not very good at traditional swimming. Instead, I always preferred to take a couple of deep breaths, duck below the surface and swim along underwater, which I was pretty good at.
18. Grow Plants
Caveat: I like to do it. I’m not necessarily good at it. With one exception, my straw bale gardens have turned in a mediocre performance at best, though I once had a trio of bell peppers that lived in (indoor) pots for several years. My current foliage consists of several spider plants, an out-of-control aloe, an air plant, and a lovely pot of marjoram given to me by an optimistic lady suffering under the delusion that I’d be able to keep it alive.
Sometimes a little retail therapy can go a long way. MrH and I don’t usually spend much, but it’s fun to while away an occasional Saturday morning cruising the farmer’s market or thrift store and come home with something we need or have wanted for a while.
20. Spend Time With People
Yeah, surprised me too. I was never much of a social butterfly and frequently felt ill at ease hanging out with people. But in recent years (specifically, since Bob the Brain Tumor was evicted from my skull) I’ve come to really enjoy my family and friends and treasure the time I get to spend with them. I’m making new friends, too, which is great.
What about you? What things do you like to do? Can you come up with twenty? Feel free to share them (Well, maybe not all of them!) in the comments below.