Sunday, March 21, 2010


I haven't been in the best spirits lately. Most of that is a result of outside influences beyond my control, but I started making a list last week of things that would make me happier, that I can control. I was swamped with work at the time, so this weekend is the first chance I've had to make any real efforts in the right direction.

I'm happy to report that my mental experiment was pretty successful. It helps a lot that I live in a beautiful city and the weather chose to cooperate nicely. I'm a firm believer that sunshine can do wonders for the soul. So, with that great base, I started on my list...

1) Focus on art... I love going to the latest art exhibition, I used to make a habit of sketching all the time, and I was always working on some little side project, but haven't felt like I had the time in awhile. So, to get things back on track, I headed to one of my favorite spots- the Palace of Fine Arts and hung out for awhile with my sketchbook. Voila! The first of this weekend's series:

2) Speak more French... I try to keep up my skills. It gets hard when I'm busy and the classes can get expensive, but there are still lots of alternatives- especially in a city like SF with so many francophones. I ended up talking to an old man at the park who moved here from France 49 years ago. He was as excited as me to find someone to converse with. Just a few minutes into a conversation about the Pays Basque and the fabulous food there and I couldn't keep the smile off my face.

3) Embrace and appreciate the unexpected... It's the little things that sometimes catch you off guard and brighten your day. You just have to pay attention. My roommate takes cello lessons and invited her teacher over to our house last night. I didn't want to disturb them, but my curiosity got the better of me and I sat down to watch for a bit. I was completely blown away by not just his skill, but the passion he had for his craft. He knows every composer like they were family, every piece as if it was his own, and you can see the joy and happiness just pouring out of him when he plays. He's literally in heaven and the feeling is contagious. It was amazing to listen to and encouraged me to try and bring some of that passion back into my own profession. I've really let the stress and the monotony get to me lately, and there's something quite therapeutic about remembering what brought me here in the first place and trying to figure out how to infuse that excitement back into my daily routine.

4) Spend time with friends... I have wonderful friends. I feel very lucky to be surrounded by such great people. It seems obvious that if I want to be happier, then I should spend as much time with them as possible. I got to catch up with a few of them over drinks on Saturday night and then spent Sunday having frozen margaritas and basking in the sunshine in the park with a few others. A little uke music, more sketching, and some great people watching all made for a very pleasant afternoon.

5) Yoga... It may sound cliche, but it's great for the body and the mind. Learning to let go of everything and focus on the moment really helps me clear my head and let the day go. I recently discovered Yoga to the People and I really love it. Their donation based philosophy really resonates with me. They want to make sure that it's available to everyone. I went back again this weekend. It was challenging as always, but I felt great when I left. I just need to carve out time for a few more sessions each week.

That wasn't my entire list, but I definitely made a good start. Here's to fresh beginnings and finding what makes you happy.