“You must learn day by day, year by year, to broaden your horizon. The more things you love, the more you are interested in, the more you enjoy, the more you are indignant about, the more you have left when anything happens.” – Ethel Barrymore
The threat of “no dessert unless…” worked on me for a good 15 years of my life. I did it all: I cleaned my room, ate every last piece of broccoli on my plate, finished my homework just so I could eat dessert. All of us, growing up, have to occasionally do the things we don’t like in order to achieve something we really want. It’s just a part of life. Yet most of the time, those things we stick our tongue out at or flip our eyes at, are things we never learn to love. But sometimes, they are.
Here’s a list of things I used to avoid doing or using or eating that i now i don’t think i could live without.
I’ve started to notice that sometimes beets are the least popular thing at a dinner party, so for a while i avoided them. But one night, as a vegetarian, I found myself one night at a restaurant where the only thing I could eat was a beet and cheese “Salad” and when I asked them to remove the beets, the waiter laughed and said, well, you’ll only be eating a piece of cheese. So they brought it and I closed my eyes and ate it and I really, actually, enjoyed it.
I used to dry heave if i even dared run for more than 5 minutes straight. I forced myself to down that couch-to-5k app and ever since then, i’ve started to really enjoy building up my tolerance to running and the thrill of being able to run 20 minutes now without even thinking about stopping.
3. Using real silverware
This one is a little weird – i’ll admit. There was just something about plastic silverware that i used to love way better.
4. Dry shampoo
For the day’s or nights you don’t feel like jumping in the shower – but your hair needs a bit of a refresh – dry shampoo has come to the rescue.
5. Spending Friday nights at home
In my pajamas, eating take-out and watching Shark Tank at 9pm. Listening to the loud bass of a Ke$ha song thump outside my window and knowing that i’m okay, that i’m just fine, where i am.
6. Not having a car
Not having a car in a city makes getting anywhere quite the adventure (I was car-less when i lived in LA). When i lived in Florida, it was out of the question to walk a mile to get anywhere. But now, living in NYC, walking or taking a bus or riding a bike to get anywhere, I’ve found myself enjoying the road (or tunnel) it takes to get places and gaining a much better sense of direction.
7. Hot tea.
8. Sending thank you cards
Or ‘just because’ cards. Or hand written love notes to a person who you can’t stop thinking about and feel as though a text message or an email, even a phone call, isn’t enough.
9. Washing all the makeup off my face before going to bed
10. Writing when I wake up
I’ve been doing this thing called Morning Pages for the last two months. Every morning i wake up and i write down two pages worth of content – about anything that comes to mind. If nothing comes to mind, i simply write ‘ I don’t know’ until i can think of something. It’s an easy way to throw up all the things that kept us tossing and turning from the night before and start the day off fresh.
11. Having long conversations on the phone
Sometimes being far away from someone and hearing their voice before you go to bed or when you have 30 blocks to walk home can make you feel less alone. Can make you understand that even when you’re far away from someone, parts of them stay with you. And there’s nothing like hearing their laugh or the familiar rhythm of their voice to calm the beating of your heart.
12. Deep conditioning my hair
13. Parental guidance and advice
I used to stick my fingers in my ears and say “la la la” i can’t hear you whenever my parents tried to give me advice or guidance. Now, it’s my everything. I wish i could write down every single thing they tell me in a journal that follows me everywhere. Our parents mean something different to us at every age. Deep in my 20’s, it’s as if my parents have become the only constant and level-headed people in my life. The ones who seem to have just the right kind of advice to match the problem or challenge that i’m facing in my life.
Doing squats are the easiest way to pass time during commercials or while you’re brushing your teeth.
15. Watching football
Only because i’ve learned that after a long cold day there is nothing better than clean sheets and jeans that don’t have random stains from the subway on them. Or a clean pair of socks – there’s nothing like a clean pair of socks in 20 degrees.
17. Uncomfortable situations where i don’t know anyone
I welcome these kinds of situations in my life, now.
Mostly when with someone else, or on a fist date, or just alone in my room on a Sunday morning before i’ve reached for my phone or turned on the TV. The pure untouched silence of a moment and the feeling that i don’t need to interrupt it by saying something bland or repetitive or meaningless or turning up the volume on some overused device to infiltrate the nothingness that’s banging my ear drum.
19. Books on tape
20. Going on first dates
Ah never mind… i still really don’t like those.