It’s harder to answer this question than it seems: What did I used to love doing?
It’s funny how things we love, things that brought us life or joy or a feeling of passionate purpose become things that we use the past tense to talk about. Did. Used to. Remember when we…
Sometimes it’s hard to remember because we’ve created a new default way of having fun. Sometimes that new default is driven more by convenience than anything else. I love the title of this movie in the image on the left. Never seen it, but it’s a perfect alternate title for this poist.
Last Saturday, my husband and I made the point of recreating a few elements from our dating, pre-married life. Back when I was still a college student, we’d go out for food, bundle up in toasty jackets and gloves, and then walk around the beautiful streets of Seattle’s Queen Anne Hill to stare in wonder at the gorgeous multi-million dollar homes.
He and I weren’t anywhere near engaged at the time. It wasn’t like we were imagining each other’s children running around in those immaculately landscaped yards. It was just the pleasure of being together and delight in what we saw. He enjoyed the architecture (he’s an engineer), and I enjoyed the beauty. It was a simple thing that two busy married people might well reason they don’t have the time for anymore.
So last weekend we did it again. We bundled up and drove to the hill. He held my hand as we walked down streets with glorious homes that glowed along their eaves with residual white Christmas lights and we stood under the protective shadow of huge oaks that gave the air of nobility to the neighborhood.
Sometimes, all James and I have energy for is a quiet pizza-in-the-oven dinner, chocolate dessert, and a Redbox movie. There isn’t anything wrong with enjoying these luxuries available to us in our culture. But if I’m not careful, I forget to pursue the things that once made my heart glad. Like the simple things we enjoyed when we were dating. Or what I loved to do as a kid.
For me, that’s remembering that I drew pictures before I ever learned to love words. When I let myself make time to paint, I honor that young part of myself that relished color and the tactile pleasure of laying it out in shape and shadow.
I recently went to an art store and bought myself a good set of acrylic paints so that I had an open invitation to let that part of myself go out and play.
My husband, for example, loves to build things. As a kid, he built perfect, functional replicas of things like crossbows and trebuchets in miniature. His job is designing buildings, but at home he gets really excited about certain house projects.
He enjoys hanging the new lamp I got for my birthday. He likes putting in the shelf under the counter for our cutting boards. He built me a bookshelf with so much enjoyment, it didn’t seem possible.
What I’m saying is, pursuing what we love isn’t always our natural instinct. Sometimes it’s work. Sometimes watching TV or taking a nap just sounds so much easier, and thus more enticing. But when you re-engage your heart with what it’s longing for (though the longing may have fallen silent) it’s worth it to feel that old joy rushing back.
Rediscovering what you love is like telling a little kid who thinks they’ve been left out of the game that she’s allowed to play again. It’s like asking a friend how he’s doing after a long period in which he’s felt neglected. Be prepared for some inner squeals of joy.
Remember what you loved…and go do it again.