Sorry it’s been so long, readers! I’ve been trying to get back in the swing of writing but have found myself being a bit lazy when I get in front of the keyboard. I love writing, and cooking and baking, and I promised myself that 2018 would be a better year for sticking to doing more things to make me happy, and put my mind at ease. 2018 holds a lot of promise. It will mark the beginning of my third year in Chicago, my second full year in advertising, and a year of Happy Fork.
In January, I made a list of 20 things I want to achieve in 2018. I got this idea from Gretchen Rubin, a writer whose podcast, Happier, I follow on Spotify regularly. In one episode, she talks about her “18 for 2018.” This list, she notes, should be attainable goals that you can achieve in a calendar year. A lot of her listeners submitted their own lists and she shared. Many lists include reading 12 books (one for each month), running a 5K, spending one lunch a week outside, etc. All things to make people happier in their own lives and own situations.
Making my own list wasn’t an easy task. When you sit down to do this, it takes a lot of thought to figure out what activities, habits, events, will make you happier in the next twelve months. It took a lot of self-reflection. I struggled with writing down actual attainable goals. It’s easy to make big lofty goals. Work out more. Be proactive. Use my phone less. Twenty actionable things was tough. I won’t list all 20, but here’s a glimpse:
- Call both my grandmothers at least once a month
- Watch a new movie every month
- Go to a new museum by myself
- Go out of your way to do a favor for someone once a week
- Frame a poster in my bedroom
I checked a big one off my list this weekend. I went to the Chicago Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA). By myself. And proceeded to eat lunch by myself as well. Now, I know this isn’t that revolutionary. People do this all the time. However, the extrovert that I am struggles to want to spend time alone when living in an apartment with friends and in a big city where I could go hang out with people all the time. And when I am alone, I find myself wanting to call someone, tell them what I’m doing, and distract my brain from thinking that I’m alone. After my morning last Saturday though, I realized how valuable it is to do things alone. And really do things.
My day Saturday started early. I left my apartment at 9am and went to Intelligentsia. If you’re ever in Chicago, stop at an Intelligentsia for some awesome coffee. And their shop on Broadway is really great, it really feels like the neighborhood coffee shop/watering hole. I walked along the Lakefront trail, enjoying the sunshine and listening to music. The 3.5 mile walk to the museum was so relaxing and helped me get my “exercise” for the day. Once I got there, I spent about 1.5 hours walking around, spending as much or as little time as I wanted with each piece of art. I took pictures. I read all the little plaques. It was great.
The MCA has a great restaurant on the 1st floor called Marisol. It’s a newer place that I’ve read about on some food blogs that I follow. I didn’t sit down in the actual restaurant but rather the counter-service side, so I was able to order something quick and could read my book without feeling rushed. I ordered the Lox Toast and it did not disappoint. Sourdough, creamy dill cream cheese. Lox and pickled zucchini with capers. It was a delightful, light lunch and exactly what I was looking for.
Come spring time, I am going to make a huge effort to do more things by myself. I felt so relaxed, and proud of myself for taking that time. As much as I love spending time with my boyfriend, my friends, family, etc, it’s so very important to take some time for your self. Step out of your social comfort zone and trust yourself enough to go out there and enjoy yourself alone. For me, it’s part of “growing up,” and I’m really looking forward to figuring out what I’ll do next.
What is your favorite thing to do alone? Any recommendations for me?