Jan 29, 2018

Things that Give Me Joy

Instead of making a listicle, I want to describe a couple of recent experiences that made me glad for the life I've built.

Friday Night Date Night

Friday night is date night.  After Orion goes to bed, Ryan and I play games or watch tv or sometimes just talk, depending how mentally dead we are and what our relationship needs at that moment.  We also get junk food, because nobody wants to cook or do dishes on date night!  (And it's delicious!)

This past Friday, Ryan stopped by the ice cream place across from his work that has the ridiculous, elaborate flavors that I enjoy so much. (Hello, Fluffernutter!)  Roommate was around, so we had BBQ, and Orion made a huge mess with his macaroni and green beans, and we joked around.

Then we went into the basement to while the time away until baby bedtime, and I happened to remember that a childhood computer game I'd enjoyed was available on Steam.  Ryan let me download it on his account, and immediately I was transported back to age 10 or so.

Electronic beeping, flat graphics, and a total of 4 actions.  Commander Keen is NOT a high-tech game.  But the wave of nostalgia that hit was so strong.  This is clearly the best game in existence.  Ryan is an awesome husband so he humored me.  And our roommate voiced his astonishment that there exists a game I'm actually good at.

Yes, world!  I am good at Commander Keen.  I know exactly the right angle to run, pogo stick, and then jump to get that lollipop out of the high corner.  In episode one, I've got most of the levels memorized, so I know where the monsters are, that the icicles are dangerous, and that the one-eyed aliens are friendly but will sometimes accidentally push you into fire or off cliffs.  (You still don't shoot them.  Friends don't shoot friends.)

Ryan was... not good.  Which makes sense, as he'd never played before!  But this might literally be the first time I've played a game with him and been more skilled.  Hell yeah I'm going to enjoy that!  It's my one chance!

Food, loved ones, nostalgia, humor.  The whole night was just perfect.

Playing with the Baby

When I was in my rough-ish patch, Orion was the only thing that ever made me feel joy.  But that was very specific (and probably fueled by hormones and instinct more than my conscious brain) and only occurred when I was holding him while he slept.

Now he's older and learning to do new things all the time and it's amazing to watch!  I'll follow him as he climbs up a flight of stairs, or leave him in his play area for a moment and come back to find him climbing onto blocks so he can get a better view.  I let him dig around in the pantry (after moving heavy and glass thing up to the higher levels) and unravel toilet paper to his heart's content because I enjoy watching it more than I mind tidying up after.

But my favorite (recent) day was one where we sat together in his play area and I showed him how his "giggly gears" fit together.  Ryan's been working with him on shapes and he's very recently shown interest in getting blocks to fit through the right holes.

So he was holding a block and I connected another block to the top of it.  He looked in surprise at his now twice-as-tall block and then held it out to me.  I held onto the block I had just put on, and he pulled his block back, and they came apart.  We repeated this at least five times and he smiled and poked things with his finger and IT WAS SO COOL!

I was literally watching him learn to assemble things and how they fit together and he was enjoying it.  I remember hearing or reading someone say that everything is the first for babies.  They've literally never done this before.  And that thought is a little mind-blowing, but I'm also amazed that in a totally unfamiliar world of strange things, they're so delighted whenever they discover something new.

You would think it would be overwhelming or scary (and sometimes Orion does get startled and have to cry a little bit) but mostly it's just magical and exciting.  And for me, watching it happen can be magical and exciting.

Business Accomplishments

I get a little thrill each time I come closer to my monthly financial goal.  I do an internal happy dance whenever I land a new client or project.  But I think the best moment was my first business check-in when I realized I no longer feel chaotic and disorganized.

This is not exciting and I'm ok with that.  But it was an accomplishment that removes significant stress from my life AND that combines 2 of my interests: optimization and my business.  And even while I poked around and troubleshot my business stressors, I don't think I truly believed I would find a solution.

I went from dreading (and often not doing) my monthly financial check-in because it stressed me out to starting my annual check-in several days early because I was so excited to do it.  I went over goals and set new ones for 2018.  I totaled up my business's profits and what my 10% donation to charity would be.  I polled people on social media and got more responses than I expected!

It felt so good to be achieving a goal of mine and to have such positive support from people I care about.

My Family

I always enjoy seeing and talking to my family.  I'm grateful that we have the ability to see each other in person as often as we do, despite living across the country from each other.

My favorite moment recently was during a video chat with my mom and sisters.  I set up the laptop near the baby play area, and we started the call with both me and Orion popping our heads up over the baby gate to see everyone's faces.

The call ended 2 hours later and, outside of a diaper change and a head bump, was barely even interrupted by the baby because he's become so self sufficient.  He can play by himself for long periods of time and I can do my own thing, or play with him.

That flexibility is something I cherish after months of near-constant care, and having everyone I care about there in the room, physically or digitally, was a magical moment.  I don't even remember what we talked about but talking with my family always means smiles and laughter and knowing that people love you.

It's simultaneously the most comforting and the most fun part of my life.

P.S. I don't know how to end blog posts without asking questions.  But there's no point in asking questions if I don't have comments enabled.  What a conundrum!

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