“The moments of happiness we enjoy take us by surprise. It is not that we seize them, but that they seize us. “ ~ Ashley Montagu
I don’t know about where you are, but summer in Colorado is short and seems to fly by faster each year. At the beginning of the season, I usually have lots of plans, ideas, and to-do’s – what I want the summer to look like – most of which probably don’t ever get off the ground. I’m ok with that, though, because some of them do – and they add to the memories of summer that will last long after Labor Day.
In his book, Flourish, Dr. Martin Seligman enumerates the benefits of happiness or well-being in our lives. They include more meaning, love, gratitude, positive accomplishment, growth and better relationships. Seen in this light, putting a premium on enjoyment of life is part of the picture of having a full, successful life. The whole goal of positive psychology is, in fact, to increase flourishing in our life, according to Seligman. I, for one, don’t want to pass up on having a flourishing life. So, with that in mind, here is my summer season list, so that I can be, as Montagu said, seized by those moments of happiness and flourish.
- A trip to the coast of Oregon – something I’ve been wanting to do for years!
- Try standup paddleboarding – I have no excuse not to, my son rents them out at our local lake.
- Let go of anything I don’t need or want anymore – make space for more life, less stuff. (The key here is to be sure that more flows out than in.)
- Go horseback riding at least once. I live in Colorado, for Pete’s sake.
- Practice listening more than talking.
- Take more walks with my husband. Spend time with my precious son, before he goes back to school. And, of course, our dogs.
- Spend more time at home – puttering, reading, de-cluttering (my new favorite thing) or – what a concept – just enjoy being.
- Eat outside whenever possible – whether at home on the deck, or at a restaurant.
- Pick wildflowers from the yard and bring a bouquet inside.
- Finally, for all of you who wrote the kindest emails on the passing of our beloved Ben, thank you so much! And – May I take this opportunity to introduce our new family member, Princeton. I had absolutely no intention of adopting another dog so soon, however, Princeton needed a home and one thing, as they say, led to another. He is a perfect fit for our family and we are so happy to have him. I plan on spending lots of time with Princeton and Charlie this summer – hiking, walking at the lake and playing. A simple summer pleasure and, for me, one of the best.
Speaking of wellbeing (and dogs), do you know that there are actual health benefits to having a pet? Research shows that owning a pet can improve quality of life in several ways. Emotionally, having a pet has been shown to decrease depression, stress and anxiety. Pets also can help lower blood pressure, improve immunity and even decrease the risk of heart attack and stroke. Then there’s all that unconditional love and loyalty that pets can provide.
I’m sharing my seasonal bucket list with you in the hope that you might be inspired to create one for yourself, as you become more intentional about what you want your summer season to look like. I invite you to craft one for yourself and, if you feel like it, share it on my blog or my Facebook page at: https://www.facebook.com/Evergreen-Life-and-Wellness-204475386293524/
Here’s to summer!