The shadows get me sometimes. You might hear that in my music.
But I’m also often very happy to be alive! And right now, I have been pretty happy for a few months in a row.
Since remembering how to be happy sometimes feels like catching lightning in a bottle, I thought I’d write about why I’m happy, so that the next time the shadows come, I can come back and read this.
1. I just had a coffee.
2. I sleep very well lately. At least 8 hours a night.
3. The people I love, love me back.
4. My back hurts, but I know where to get it fixed. (Dr. Graycar is the closest thing to a magic worker I’ve ever met.)
5. I’m healthy. I don’t have any diseases, allergies, major injuries, etc.
6. I’m mobile and self-sufficient. And I’m aware that I may not always be.
7. I’m successful. This is something I just realized suddenly. I’m not AS successful as I want to be and will be, but I’m successful. I’m making a living on my terms, generally making a positive difference in peoples’ lives and creating things of value.
8. I waterski with a great group of friends behind my favorite ski boat (Ski Nautique) several times per week. It is cheap, convenient, and close to where I live.
9. My car doesn’t break down. It gets me around reliably.
10. I have wonderful students.
11. The weather has been spectacular lately.
12. I have enough money to travel again. I’m excited to go to New York City in October for the CMJ Music Marathon!
13. I have enough money to buy new clothes again.
14. I am in a book that was just published!
15. My students are also finding success.
16. I think I’m finally starting to understand and enjoy social media, at least on some channels.
17. This has been the best summer in years, with lots of road trips around Colorado.
18. Looking forward to going to Nashville in a few weeks.
19. Looking forward to the autumn colors in a few weeks.
20. I keep getting stronger because of the fit36 workouts I’ve been doing lately.
21. I have lots of freedom to do what I want with my days.
22. I have started to realize that I’m attractive… I guess… to enough people anyway that I suppose I’m actually attractive.
23. I don’t have any food allergies.
24. I don’t fight with my weight any more, like I did until I was about 30.
25. I don’t have any toxic people in my life.
26. My parents are both alive and healthy.
27. New opportunities keep showing up.
28. I think I am finally starting to become decent at singing.
29. I live in a really reasonably priced apartment.
30. I’ve been reading good books lately.
31. I’ve realized that I will never be cool to the majority of the population. That really takes the pressure off.
32. I have found makeup I love and that isn’t too expensive.
33. I’m in an acting class with a group of wonderful people.
34. Places exist in the world such as Utah slot canyons, and the Florida Keys, and Independence Pass in Colorado.
35. I have a lot of healthy years left to live.
36. Every time I check my newsletter dashboard, there is at least one new signup within the last day.
37. I make music with talented people who share a similar musical vision. I feel very lucky to have a band of talented, zero-drama people who are willing to help this musical vision come to life.
38. My studio is in a cool, up-and-coming neighborhood (RiNo).
39. My band played four theatre shows. Even if it all stops there – which I don’t plan on – that’s pretty damn cool.
40. The Denver music scene is generally pretty supportive and cool, at least compared to some other music scenes. So I hear.
41. Vernon Fuentes colored my hair last week, and it’s freakin’ rockstar.
42. I have a great, affordable portrait photographer who I love as a friend.
43. There is a lot of great music in the world. So much more than there used to be. And it’s so much easier to access. (Locating it is a different story.)
44. I have a few superfans who try to come to every show. Do you guys have any idea how much that means?
45. I just bought a big corkboard to start a new vision board, because things feel possible again.
46. I have been going to San Diego a lot.
47. I live in an area of the country that’s more or less untouched by natural disasters. Sure, some fires, some blizzards, but we’re rarely knocked off our feet for more than a few days. (Exception: the 2013 floods.)
48. There’s a beautiful snake in my garden.
49. I have a garden.
50. I built and planted the garden. And not everything has died. In fact, 90% of what I planted still lives. I ate fresh tomatoes the other day.
51. I love eating. I’m glad I no longer feel guilty about eating.
52. I love drinking. I’m glad I don’t have a tendency toward overdoing it.
53. I tried ecstasy, did it regularly for a while, glad I had the experience, glad I didn’t get hooked on anything.
54. I was a world-ranked waterskier. I set records, I won tournaments, I started the Stanford Water Ski Team. I carry those achievements forever.
55. I apparently have a good reputation. People have been saying that to me lately. That’s incredible to hear. If you lose everything but your reputation, you still have enough to get going again. If you lose nothing but your reputation, you’re ruined.
56. I bought a new purse that looks cool and will carry my laptop, too!
57. I have a comfortable townie bike for lazy bike rides.
58. My little brother works for Google and is in a happy long-term partnership with a very cool, artistic woman I adore. I look up to both of them. (Nice change from the way I used to try to beat him up mentally and occasionally physically when we were little.)
59. It warms my heart to see my college friends adoring their families on Facebook.
60. I don’t have kids and I’m so glad, because it was the right decision for us.
61. My mom never had a fit or made me feel guilty about not having kids. (My brother isn’t either, so she’s not going to be a grandma.)
62. We have no felons, deadbeats, alcoholics, drug addicts, or crazy people in our family. At least to my knowledge.
63. My Spanish is very rusty, but it’s still in there. I’m glad to be able to speak a foreign language.
64. I’m glad I got to live in Spain for a year when I was 19.
65. I’m in a stable, happy marriage going on 12 years.
66. We have a cat I love more than you should really love a pet, but I love her that much anyway.
67. I’m still learning new things. Sounds basic, but some people fossilize as they get older. Seems like I’m avoiding that trap.
68. Yet I also know some things I believe and am not going to change my mind about.
69. I don’t spend most of my time obsessing about food, exercise, or my weight, like I did for the first 30 years of my life.
70. My hair is super thick and naturally wavy.
71. I guess I’ve realized my ass is an asset. (har.) I used to hate it for being a bubble butt.
72. I don’t have to go clothes shopping any more. My Stitchfix stylist does it for me.
73. My teachers appreciate me for bringing them work and handling the business side of things, and I appreciate them for being great teachers I can confidently recommend to prospective students.
74. The tree in my backyard is alive, unlike the tree in my neighbor’s backyard.
75. I have a hammock. And I use it.
76. My waterski from 1999 is still serving me very well. Thank goodness Second Story Garage didn’t take me up on my offer to give them the ski for their garage collection in return for an article on my band.
77. My music hasn’t gone far and wide yet. I’m happy about that because it’s not ready to, it’s not good enough yet.
78. We have better songs coming out on the next EP.
79. I did a great job as a session singer for someone else’s project yesterday. In and out in 45 minutes including harmonies!
80. There is green grass in my backyard. And my front yard.
81. I have a backyard, and a front yard. And patio furniture on both. And a patio umbrella for when the sun is too hot.
82. The air quality in Colorado is generally pretty good.
83. I almost never have to drive at rush hour.
84. I haven’t set foot in a cubicle since 200…8? 2007?
85. Yet I’m proud that I was a dot-com software developer. I was even the sole developer for a company that was a posterchild of late 90’s dot-com excess. No naming names, but they gave away a Porsche Boxter to the person who thought of the new name for the company. (L., if you’re reading this, I mean nothing negative. Those were heady times and I was thrilled to be involved.)
86. My husband and I are rebuilding our savings.
87. There are tons of talented musicians all around me to learn from.
88. There are tons of online courses to learn from. Learning is everywhere.
89. I have ideas for new products. It’s just a matter of finding time to produce them!
90. I got to sing “Great Gig in the Sky” at the Fox Theatre on one days’ notice. And I killed it.
91. I have a growing collection of full notebooks, some with pretty helpful thoughts in them.
92. I have a wise-woman alter-ego living in my mind who I can consult for answers when I don’t know what to do about something.
93. Gay marriage is legal.
94. When I remember that I have the power, I am really quite amazing at making something happen by wishing it. Not everything, not immediately, but honestly, when I put something out there for real, consistently, it usually comes sooner or later. I could just be reframing truth to match my own reality, but who cares? Believing it is enough.
95. My husband lets me be me, and I let him be him. We’re more independent than most. I don’t think most couples could live like us. I’m so grateful to him. I never thought I wanted the cage of marriage.
96. My iPhone 6 takes slow-motion video. And great photos!
97. There is so much beauty – manmade and natural – in this world. A lifetime doesn’t even begin to expose you to all of it.
99. Cute puppies and kittens on the internet. Seriously.
100. This series of photos of a dead raccoon in Toronto: https://www.facebook.com/chris.dumais.12/posts/10153627934373385?pnref=story
I still have ideas, so I’m going to keep going.
101. Tiny houses.
103. Austin Kleon and his books.
104. Caitlin Moran and her books.
105. The way the humidity in the South feels like a hug. (yep, for real)
106. I never get cavities.
107. Co-working spaces like Converge in Denver. Not that I’m a member. But the fact that things like this are popping up makes me happy.
108. Annual family reunion in San Diego.
109. I have positive relationships with everyone in my close and extended family. Not all of them are close, but they’re all positive.
110. I look and feel younger than I am. I am often mistaken for being about 8 years younger.
111. I don’t have a lot of belongings. Way less than I used to. It feels light.
112. Fountain pens.
113. I have to say it at some point: Chocolate.
114. And whiskey.
115. The new urbanism.
116. The new sharing economy. We don’t ALL need to own ALL these things by ourselves.
117. OK, I’ll say this one too: Sunsets. Typical, but for real.
118. Lying in the shade of trees in the summer.
119. Little girls dressed in bright colors. Especially princess dresses or tutus. When out in public, not on Halloween and not after a dance recital.
120. My brain works, pretty well, most of the time. It’s a traitor sometimes, but on the whole, I think I have an above-average one.
121. My big floppy blue sunhat made of paper. Yep, paper. Weird.
122. I never do laundry any more. I drop it off and pick it up. Cheaper than renting a washer/dryer.
I did that list typing at full speed, almost without stopping. I could go on, but I have lunch with a wonderful friend coming up in 20 minutes and I gotta get moving. That’s what the good days feel like.
What makes you happy?