What Would Make You Happy?

On the heels of reading seven books in June, I took a step back in July and “only” read five books. I’d let the pressure of reading books so I could blog about them get too much of a hold on my life. That’s why I planned to not read as much in July. That didn’t work out very well, but I did start taking a closer look at the types of books I was reading and wanted or needed to read.

If you read my August blog posts, you know there wasn’t a fluffy beach read in the bunch. In fact, there wasn’t a novel in the five, and they were all about serious and sobering topics.

Photo credit: John Mark Smith on unsplash.com

September and October came along and most of my reading was dictated by the writing course I was taking. For two months, I read what I had to read or needed to read. It didn’t leave any time to read what I wanted to read, although I did start reading The Silk Roads: A New History of the World, by Peter Frankopan. It’s not a book that can be read quickly.

Reading is important for a writer; however, writing needs to be more of a focus for me now. I’ve procrastinated and let reading take too much of my time the last couple of years. I don’t regret reading any of the books I read, but I’ll never finish writing my novel at this rate!

What would make me happy?

About six weeks ago, I took time to discern what will make me happy. The things I came up with were (1) to work on my book; (2) to work on my genealogy; and (3) to get back to sewing and quilting. I haven’t sewn in going on two years now. I hope I can remember how to turn on the sewing machine. I have tubs of fabric that need to be turned into gifts or quilts and other household items.

The fourth item on my list is to get back to playing the mountain dulcimer. I should play it every day. I haven’t touched it in months. I hope my muscle memory kicks in when I take it out of its case today. I’m not very good at it. The reasons for that are (1) I’m not musically-talented and (2) I don’t put much time into it.

The Gifts of Imperfection, by Dr. Brene Brown

I recently reread The Gifts of Imperfection, by Brené Brown. It reminded me not to be so hard on myself and not to worry about what other people think of me. I listened to her book, Rising Strong, and it inspired me to be brave. That’s what finally prompted me to hire a professional editor to critique the first 50 pages of my novel. (See my July 12, 2021 blog post, 4 Other Books I Read in June 2021 and my July 26, 2021 blog post, How My First 50 Pages Stood up for Critique.)

Rising Strong, by Dr. Brene Brown

I’d been working on today’s blog post early in July, when I read Barbara Strickland’s July 11 blog post: Limit the Limits – Barbara Strickland – Author & Blogger (brstrickland.com. After reading an article in LinkedIn, Barbara blogged about a methodical way to figure out what your dreams are.

Her post sort of dovetailed with what I was writing four months ago that ended up being postponed until today. She looked at her list of dreams from a view of practicality. I didn’t have to consciously do that when I made my list because it’s not my nature to dream about doing or having things I can’t afford or don’t have the health to do.

Taking stock on this milestone year

I graduated from high school 50 years ago. There. I’ve said it. Do the math. Yes, I’m 68 years old.

Photo credit: Zoltan Tasi on unsplash.com

There’s something jolting about admitting I graduated from high school 50 years ago. I don’t know what it is about those anniversary years that end in a zero. I was not prompted to take stock of my life last year, 49 years after my graduation.

Our 50-year high school reunion was planned for last month but had to be postponed until sometime next year due to the Covid-19 pandemic. 

I was in a class of 191. At least 33 of my classmates have died. Talk about a sobering thought! More than one of those were special, lifelong friends of mine.

Assessing my blog topics

Once in a while, I need to take a step back and evaluate my life – how I’m spending my time, what I’m accomplishing, what I’m doing to benefit others, and what I’m doing to improve myself. This is one of those times, so please bear with me.

This is supposed to be my writing blog. My reading is important and integral to my writing; however, since the Covid-19 pandemic started, I haven’t written much about my journey as a writer until this summer when I decided to get the first 50 pages of my novel manuscript critiqued by an editor.

A blog is supposed to serve a purpose. It’s supposed to benefit the reader. I hope my continued journey as a writer will serve as fodder for my future blog posts and those posts will enlighten or entertain you in some way. Otherwise, you don’t have any reason to keep reading my blog.

No pressure there!

Photo credit: Daniel Thomas on unsplash.com

There are many things I enjoy about blogging. Over the years, I’ve developed friendly relationships with a few readers. They live all around the world. Many of them have opened my eyes to things I didn’t know. They’ve helped me understand different perspectives. They have enriched my life. I will never meet them except via the internet.

People in 20 countries visited my blog the last week in October. Since I started my blog, people in 144 countries and territories have looked at it. That is surprising, gratifying, and a bit scary.

I never know what’s going to strike a chord with readers. When I have a reader from China or some countries in Africa, it especially catches my attention and I feel a heightened sense of responsibility.

I appreciate your taking time to read my blog. I’ll try not to let you down.

Since my last blog post

Here in North Carolina, we raced right through autumn last week and jumped into winter. There was snow in the higher mountains in the state and our county had a freeze warning. It just doesn’t seem quite right to have a freeze warning before having a frost warning, but that’s life in North Carolina.

Photo credit: Janet Morrison

I’m still decluttering my home in hopes of making space for more creativity and less stress.

Until my next blog post

Have you assessed your life lately? What would make you happy? What’s missing in your life? What are you waiting for?

I hope you have at least one good book to read.

I hope you’re happy and have everything you need.


17 thoughts on “What Would Make You Happy?

  1. What a great objects indeed. I think I would be completely happy and satisfied when I hear there will be no hunger in the world, no dictator is hammering a nation, and freedom is spread around the world, no war, ….❤️

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thank you, Diane. I haven’t blown the dust off the sewing machine yet — or the dulcimer — but I have good intentions. One of these days…. Thank you for your encouraging words and good wishes.


  3. Hello again Janet, yes, this is me, Francisco, now with a new site (I turned the lights off on the other one so I could concentrate more on this new one with a new approach). I have just thoroughly enjoyed your blog and this post was quite interesting. I am getting quite close to 50 years since HS graduation as well…and I say that what makes me happy is to be able to make others happy along the way and yes, naturally, to be able to paint, write and compose some music (for my own benefit, naturally). I really applaud your discipline, your ability to read and comprehend so many fabulous works of literature and to be able to write and develop your own historical novel, which I am looking forward to. As far as genealogy, well, for me it will bring no surprises…
    Take good care Janet and may you accomplish your goals for the coming week/weeks/months. All the best and greetings from Spain,

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Wow, Francis! You have been quite busy. After reading your comment, I took 10-15 minutes to visit your new site. It’s fabulous! You’re not only a painter, I believe you’re a true Renaissance Man. Your talents are from one end of the spectrum to the other. It takes a multitude of skill sets to paint, write, market, and have the ability to present oneself across so many media. I stand in awe of what you have accomplished and how you are able to share your work with the world. I wish I were as disciplined as you think I am. I follow short every day. I’ve done no writing this week. After a freeze last week, we have a string of days in the 70s and brilliant sunshine this week. I’m taking advantage of this last gasp of warm weather to rake leaves. We practically live in a forest of large, old trees and we’re covered in leaves this time of year. It’s a small price to pay for getting to live out in the country with no close neighbors. Perhaps I’ll get back to work on my novel this weekend when cooler temperatures return. Thank you for your continual encouragement for my attempts at writing. Congratulations upon constructing your new site. All the best from North Carolina. Janet

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Thank you so much Janet. I do admire your discipline and your willpower in taking the online course, submitting your work and for charting out your writing so well and so professionally. I try to maintain discipline but…
    I truly appreciate your support and have nothing but gratitude for your kind words of encouragement. Looking forward to your next post, all the best from Spain,

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Janet. you read far more than I do. Much of my life, starting at seventeen, I read and took notes on a book a day.. Now I find myself reading the best few of them over and over rather than going on to new books. I’ve never read a book “for plaeasure.” but only for what I could learn from it about good writing. Thank for for this post–yes, get back to writing and doing what you enjoy most.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Both the books pictured look very interesting. My website is an author’s blog as well. Since I’m still working on being published, I am looking to meet writers and bloggers from around the world. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Thank you, Rebecca. I, too, love meeting writers and bloggers from all over the world. I had several penpals while I was in high school and college. Making connections via my blog and the blogs of others reminds me of that experience.

    Liked by 1 person

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