New Beginnings

I love the idea of stopping to smell the roses, but it’s easy to get overwhelmed by how many options there are for “slowing down.” Isn’t that stress the complete antithesis of what we’re going for? I’ve design bite-sized tastes of joy meant to broaden my horizons and enrich my life. This is tailored to my interests and preferences, but I thought it might be nice to share with other people also struggling to fit more meaningful moments into their lives.

Every week, I will post a list of fun activities and enriching bits of beauty, including relaxing music, ambience and ASMR recommendations, puzzle games, movies, short readings, topics to learn more about, and creative prompts to tackle through art, writing, photography, or any other medium that speaks to you. You can do one per day or all of them together, though I don’t recommend that. I certainly won’t be cramming.

I will also start every month with a list of ways to enrich your life. These are a bit bigger because they are meant to be enjoyed over the entire month rather than only a week. Monthly enrichment includes a novel to read for fun, a text to read for a challenge, an artist (view their art!), a composer (listen to their music!), a snack (eat it!), a scent (sniff it!), some form of exercise or sport to try out (move it, move it – sorry got carried away), a meditation technique, and a theme for journaling. Try to incorporate as many of these into your life as possible over the course of the month. Keep what you like. Nix what you don’t. By experimenting with these little samples, you just might discover something you love! That’s my plan anyway.

Because we just rang in the New Year, I figured this would be the perfect time to begin. Besides enriching my life, I intend to cultivate my creative skills and really delve into my relationships to better understand the nature of love. Also eat better. Haha! Isn’t that everyone’s goal in January?

Anyway… Enrichment! Here we go.

Here are January’s suggestions for little ways to enrich your life:

  • Reading for Fun: The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett. You can find it free online or on Amazon, and here is a free reading on YouTube.
  • For a Challenge: Mythology by Edith Hamilton. You can find it free on this teacher’s website or on Amazon.
  • Artist: Sandro Botticelli (1445-1510). Look below for an example of his art.
  • Composer: Frideric Handel. Here is a sampling of his work.
  • Movement: Stretching at home. Here is an instructional video on how to stretch for beginners.
  • Game: King’s Quest: Quest for the Crown, a point-and-click adventure game by Sierra. You can find it in a three-pack with parts 2 and 3 of the series on GOG. Yes, this is an OLD game, but I grew up on these games. Replaying them is a source of nostalgic joy. The free fan remake on AGD Interactive, available here, is modeled after games later in the series and is actually rather good.
  • Snacks: Mandarins. Here are some nutritional facts about the sweet little fruit. Try them whole and unadorned, or refresh yourself with mandarin/orange juice. I don’t normally enjoy fruit, but these are quite nice.
  • Scent: Coffee. I love the smell of coffee even when I’m not drinking it. Brew a pot or make some instant for a warm, soothing scent. Obviously, you can drink it too!
  • Meditation: Headspace. Here is a video of theirs to decompress your mind and body. I really enjoy their 10-minute and 1-minute meditations because I don’t always have the patience for a long meditation session.
  • Journaling Theme: Keep a journal, and doodle fireworks over a skyline. Colorful little circles and lines aren’t too touch to draw. This can liven up a journal for people (like me) who find it tough to maintain.
The Birth of Venus

Almost none of these things require spending money. Free online resources are truly wonderful.

I spent the holidays sick, so I’m eager to kick off the New Year with a vigor I don’t quite have back. Bit by bit, I will engage my mind, body, and senses while also pursuing my goals for the year. I hope you will too.

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