I went on a date on Sunday… with my literary agent.
If you could see me right now, you would see a grin ear-to-ear, and if you could get inside my heart, you’d feel it beating frantically out of its chest. There are very few words to describe just how happy – and excited and thankful! – I feel to have someone actively trying to turn this little ‘ole blog of mine into a book. (When it happens, you will all be the first to know, I promise!)
Even so, I was nervous to meet him (and afraid he wouldn’t like me) – but my gut was right: it was two hours of constant rapport, brainstorming and storytelling. And then he said something that just about made me cry:
“You’re so positive, you’re putting yourself out there, you’re dating, but you’re not giving up, and you’re focusing on things that make you happy. It’s something women, well everyone, needs to hear and be reminded of.”
He’s right – I’m probably in the best place I’ve been while writing this blog and while living in New York. I’m the happiest I’ve ever been with so many things in my life – my job, my writing, my home, my friends, my everything. And while I haven’t quite found love, I have this insane feeling in the pit of my stomach that the universe has me in the exact place I’m supposed to be.
But it hasn’t always been this way. (You remember those blog posts, don’t you?) And I’m not always level-headed and peaceful about my life (or have my shit completely together). However, this year, I’ve made specific changes to create more happiness in my everyday routine.
Here are just a few that might just help you, too:
I wake up and I think of something I’m thankful for
This is something my mom has done for years and always tried to get me to do, and this year was the first time I took her up on it. It’s not always big things or serious things – at least once a week it’s the smiling puppy I have licking my face when the alarm goes off – but by starting my day with gratitude, I find myself being more thankful throughout the grind.
I ask about everyone else
This seems so simple – but it’s easy to get caught up in your own stuff and forget about the people who are there for you. Plus, when you dwell in your mind and you’re constantly venting about what’s wrong, you never take time to hear what’s going on with everyone else around you. So, regardless of how I feel or what I’m stressing about, I make a conscious effort to check-in with my friends and family.
I’ve stopped being mean to myself
Okay, not all the time – but I try really hard to speak kindly to myself. I’m not in perfect shape, I don’t feel beautiful 100 percent of the time, and yes, sometimes, I feel like I don’t measure up to the gorgeous women I see on the streets of NYC. But as soon as I start putting myself down, I pick myself right back up with a positive mantra. The more negatively you think, the more negative your life becomes.
I’ve learned how to say ‘yes’
If you would have asked my friends a year ago if I’d ever move to the east side, they would have rolled their eyes. Now, I’m in the middle of a long-term love affair with the East Village. It’s only because I’ve started accepting invites and pushing myself out of my comfort zone (Hello three European countries in one year!) that I’ve started to really savor my 20s. It’s only a short-period of time, and while I have little responsibilities, I’ve started to say ‘yes’ instead of being fearful.
I smile more
Do you ever notice how often you scrunch your face? You’re probably scrunching your face right now as you read this post – and I bet you aren’t smiling. One of my favorite workout classes in NYC is Circuit of Change and while it’s (really) hard, the instructors are always saying, “Smile! You’re exercising! It’s fun!” – and that’s something I’ve adopted. When my friends are telling me about their adventures, I smile. When I’m on a date, I smile more. When my favorite song comes on while I’m walking across town to work in the morning, I stop and do my little thing on Fifth Avenue with a big smile on my face. It helps, I promise!
I’ve let go of things simply because they were heavy
This one is extremely tough – but we all have things we hold onto only because we’re afraid of what letting them go would mean. Old relationships, friendships, jobs, titles, clothes, ideas, beliefs, the list goes on and on. But you would be amazed at how liberated you will feel when you release yourself. You make so much more room for things that bring you happiness instead of the things you were trying to change to make you happy.
I let love inspire me instead of making me sad
Sure, it is sometimes hard to hear about my friends who are ridiculously happy in relationships (or getting engaged and married when I’m just over here trying to get a date). Or read about amazing love stories that happened to someone else. It can cause that pit of anxiety to rise in my stomach more often than not, but when it starts to hurt, I shift my thoughts to why that love can motivate me instead of making me upset. If other people have found their partner, then that only means it’s a matter of time before I find mine.
I let myself dream more
For a while, I kept holding myself back from dreaming about the future. I thought by thinking about what could be, I’d just end up disappointed if it didn’t pan out that way. Over the years, I’ve realized that nothing happens how I think it will, but I always end up happy. And dreaming about possibilities keeps me hopeful, not hateful, so why not envision how magical life can (and will) be?
Why not be happy?