We seem to think that love either lights us up or breaks us. But love doesn’t break us. Relationships do. People do. They let us down. But love? It never does.
Stefani Vader really challenged me to write about 40 things I love. It seemed like an enormous task — not to find 40 things I love but to narrow it down to 40. But I do love a challenge, and so I began.
1. I do love a challenge.
This list is in no particular order, and as it states “things I love,” I won’t be listing people. We can see challenges in our lives as obstacles, or we can see them as opportunities. I choose to see them as opportunities to grow. It’s probably why I like obstacle courses, too. I see it as a way to get stronger and to be proud of what I’ve accomplished rather than getting discouraged when things are difficult.
2. I love to read.
I love actual books I can hold in my hands, and I love to get a wonderful book recommendation. I’ve loved books since I learned to read, and it’s a love affair that never gets old.
3. I love writing.
I mentioned reading first because I have loved reading longer than I’ve been writing. But I love to create. I love creative non-fiction, but I also write fiction. My first book, Left on Main- book 1 of the Map of Madison series, will be released by Sands Press in the Fall of 2019. There’s just something about seeing characters in my head live on the page.
4. I love to travel.
I love seeing somewhere new. I have some serious wanderlust. I want to explore new places, try out specialty foods to that area, and soak in the experience.
5. I love romance.
I’m not just talking books and movies, though I enjoy some of that. I’m talking hand-picked flowers, star-gazing, picnics, slow dancing, and the like. All the things.
6. I love a cozy fire.
Not in a pyromaniac way. I really love a good fire in the fireplace or on a bonfire. While cold weather is not my favorite, I do love to get cozy in front of a crackling fire. Whether it’s just watching the flames or roasting marshmallows for s’mores, there’s something about it that just makes me happy.
7. I love succulents.
Succulent plants are just wonderful. They’re low-maintenance and beautiful. I love having houseplants to bring some of the nature I love inside.
8. I love hiking.
I enjoy hiking year round. It’s that combination of being active and being outdoors that makes me smile. I love to immerse myself on an interesting path, and it’s fun to take my kids and help them connect to nature.
9. I love kayaking.
This is another nature-meets-exercise item on my list, but it’s true. I love to kayak on the lake. It’s peaceful, and other than a few photos, I can put my phone away and just check out a while. It’s just me, the lake, the paddle cutting through the water, and the boat moving steadily forward. It’s mindfulness meditation in a beautiful setting, and it always helps me feel at peace.
10. I love throwing weaponry.
Alright, I’ve tried ax-throwing once, but it was so much fun! I’m not really hurling other weapons at targets, but I did enjoy the experience and hope to do it again. It was something outside the ordinary, and it helped me tap into my inner warrior in a way that was empowering. So often, we go to war with others when the real war is in ourselves.
11. I love sunflowers.
Sunflowers are just my favorite with their beautiful, happy faces turning toward the light. I love their cheer and their resilience. I truly love a bouquet of sunflowers, and every year, I go out and pick some from a local farm.
12. I love honeysuckle.
Sunflowers may be my favorite flower, but honeysuckle is my favorite scent. It’s reminiscent of my childhood, and it’s just a wonderful experience. It might not be the prettiest of plants, but it smells (and tastes) delicious.
13. I love bees.
Honey. Bees. My mind jumps ahead. I do love bees. I love their honey and their busyness. I love their thick lazy buzzing and their dance across the flowers.
14. I love records.
Dancing makes me think of records-- Billie Holiday on vinyl and slow-dancing. I love listening to records. My collection includes old radio shows, Motown, classic rock, 80s hits, and jazz. I pick them up at random on a whim. I listen to them as much as I listen to any other music, but there’s something about the whisper-soft scratch of the needle against the vinyl that makes me smile.
15. I love classic film.
Classic movies are probably my favorite. I’m talking 1930s and 1940s. Think Cary Grant and Ingrid Bergman. Bogie and Bacall. Katherine Hepburn. Gene Tierney. Dana Andrews. James Stewart. Frank Capra and Alfred Hitchcock. I love, and own, so many of them.
16. I love naps.
I don’t care if I sound like I’m 100. What’s wrong with being 100? I love taking naps. I’ll sleep in a spot of sunlight like a cat or pull the room-darkening shades shut, put on an eye mask, and snuggle under the covers. I can nap nearly any time of day, and it just makes me feel good.
17. I love a hot stone massage.
To be fair, I love lots of spa treatments, but there is little more relaxing than a hot stone massage. It helps me relax and turn my busy mind off. It’s just the best.
18. I love lists.
Obviously. Or I wouldn’t have bothered completing this. Lists can help us stay organized, and they provide this sense of accomplishment- so long as we don’t allow ourselves to get overwhelmed by them.
19. I love pajamas.
There’s a lot of joy in the world, and wearing pajamas is joyful to me. They’re comfortable and cozy and make me feel happy. A whole day spent in pajamas is a good day.
20. I love getting hygge.
I learned about this a year or so ago. It’s this Danish idea of getting really cozy. Think candlelight, warm blankets, a fire, and a hot beverage or being cozied up with a book or good movie. It’s just a beautiful lifestyle.
21. I love yoga.
You don’t have to be flexible for yoga. You just have to be. I took a class in college, and I’ve been doing it off and on ever since. More on than off in the last couple of years. I truly love it. It’s great for my body, but it helps me stay centered in my mind, too.
22. I love subscription boxes.
It’s a bit of an addiction honestly. There are so many wonderful boxes. I’ve tried Singles Swag, FabFitFun, Birchbox, Ipsy, Succulent Box, GlobeIn, and Book of the Month. I still have a few on my list (I’m looking at you, Boxy Charm and Cause Box). I just like trying things out and getting a little happy surprise in the mail. Yes, I ordered, but I never quite know what will be included. It’s fun.
23. I love the sound of the rain.
It’s wonderful, isn’t it? I love to nap to it, but I’ll also get out in my Wellingtons and stomp in muddy puddles. Rain is relaxing.
24. I love chocolate.
This should be higher up, right? I love good quality chocolate. I love hot chocolate. It’s just wonderful.
25. I love to run.
I really do. It makes me feel strong. I’m up to half marathons now.
26. I love dogs.
I want a dog, but we’re not quite ready. And I can’t decide which I want.
27. I love the beach.
My favorite beach is Half Moon Cay so far. I just love the soft sand and clear water. It’s wonderful. The ocean calls to me. I don’t answer nearly enough.
28. I love the mountains, too.
The Highlands area in North Carolina is my favorite thus far. It’s spectacular.
29. I love a retreat.
Last year, I had the opportunity to go on a writer’s retreat, and I also took a solo retreat. Both were wonderful opportunities to connect and nurture parts of myself. The writing retreat helped me finish my book while spending time with writing friends. The personal retreat helped me immerse myself in nature and enjoy time on my own.
30. I love journals.
Journaling is wonderful, and I love having a good journal on hand. My favorite is probably from Sivana East. They have handmade ones that are a joy to write on.
31. I love candles.
Maybe I do have pyromaniac tendencies. I just like them. Especially the kinds that smell good, although I prefer them to also be eco-friendly and non-toxic.
32. I love The Golden Girls.
They make me laugh. They give me #friendshipgoals. They’re just wonderful.
33. I love memes.
Again, it goes back to laughter. They just make me happy. I’ll throw out a funny GIF, too, when the occasion calls for it.
34. I love makeup.
I do. It’s fun. It makes me feel pretty. So sue me.
35. I love baths.
They relax me. I love a good bubble bath or just a long soak with a book in hand. I’ll throw in a bath bomb or put on a facial and enjoy.
36. I love Grace and Frankie.
It amuses me, and it makes me laugh. It’s like The Golden Girls, and it features two of my favorite ladies- Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin. They are feminist icons, and I love them.
37. I love adventure.
Like travel, it’s all about the experience. I just want to give my kids a sense of adventure while enjoying it, too.
38. I love museums.
My happy, nerdy heart just loves a good museum. An art museum. A science museum with a planetarium.
39. I love Medium.
I’ve been writing for a few years, but Medium has given me a solid platform, and I have really appreciated the people I’ve come to know and the writers I’ve been introduced to through the experience. I love that Medium appreciates writers and makes sure we are paid for our work rather than just given “exposure” (read: “exploitation”).
40. I love my life.
I really do. I’m happy to be here. Thanks for reading.
That’s 40 things I love. I could list 40 more, but I won’t. It's not loving that breaks us. It's not loving that hurts our hearts so much. The love is what keeps us going. It’s what gives us hope. And it’s everywhere, regardless of our relationship status. Writing this filled me with gratitude. Even if you don’t write your own, I hope remembering all the things that you love will ignite that gratitude in you.