Things that bring me joy

I’ve decided to write about things currently bringing me joy because what everyone else is posting right now isn’t. And remember what Marie Kondo says about things that don’t spark joy? That’s right. Thank them, then remove them from your life. Unfortunately, current events have infected my Facebook and Instagram feeds with repetitive, performative content I quickly got bored of. So I’ve decided to take a break until Stonemill posts matcha again, until Dogspotting is all about dogs again, and until my well-intentioned friends return to posting about their cooking adventures.

Here’s what’s making me smile these days, in no particular order:

Hospital Playlist

It’s a (Korean) medical drama, and I like it because it’s full of things I can’t do right now. There’s a group of 5 surgeons who have been friends since medical school (aww) and now work at the same hospital and play in a band together. They frequently eat meals, all of them together. At restaurants. This is my fantasy life, eating kbbq at a restaurant with a group of friends. Laughing and teasing each other. I miss eating at restaurants. I miss seeing friends. Also, everyone in the show is a good person, but in a realistic way. It was so cheery to watch that show that I was sad when I ran out of episodes.

Newfies of Norway

This Instagram account features another fantasy life. The owners run a farm with a forest on their property and post videos daily of hiking or working with the newfies running around “helping.” You know, napping nearby or sloshing around in muddy ravines.

Animal Crossing

This is a game for Nintendo Switch. It’s yet another fantasy life, where I live on an island and all my neighbors are cute animals who give me gifts and speak to me. I breed flowers, buy myself new outfits, visit friends’ islands, make furniture out of fruit, fish, and redecorate my huge house with multiple bathtubs. Oh yeah, another reason it’s my fantasy life is that there’s no crime on this island. You can leave things you own anywhere, and no one will touch it. Even literal bags of money or trees that grow bags of money. If only San Francisco could be more like my island in Animal Crossing!

Schubert – Impromptu No 3., Op 90

How did I take piano lessons for 9 years and never know this song existed? I found it when looking for a new piece to learn and this one took my breath away. I have learned about half of it now, and it is so moving that it messes with my breathing to play it. I know, dramatic. I couldn’t find information about what inspired Schubert or what it might have meant to him. But to me, it sounds like sweetness, hope, longing, with brief undercurrents of darkness or frustration. The only thing that would make this one even better is if I could find a recording of Lang Lang playing it.

Yoo Yeon Seok singing

He has a nice voice: velvety, comforting. One of the most important components to performing music well is expressing the feeling behind it. It’s hard when performing for an audience, but getting outside yourself, your nervousness, your fear of fumbling — and finding joy in the music: that’s the key. He does a really good job. Almost as good as Lang Lang.

Buy Nothing groups

All that time quarantined at home. All that Kondo-ing you’ve done. And now, walls and entry halls are lined with paper bags full of things awaiting their trip to Goodwill. Which has also been covided. Enter Buy Nothing groups! No matter what you have in those bags, I can guarantee there’s someone who would be grateful to have it. And who would come to your house to take it off your hands. Also, people give away nice things too. I recently saw a street lamp that you could plug in!

Weighted blanket

Speaking of buy nothing groups, I recently got this blanket from one. Some people hate feeling pressed, but I love it. It’s so relaxing. As a child, I used to fantasize about being pressed under the couch or refrigerator. Yeah, while other girls my age were wearing towels on their heads dreaming of being brides, I was imagining what it would be like to be squashed by my couch. TMI? It’s better than a spa day. Really! It’s relaxing and there are no strangers touching you. (How can anyone relax with strangers touching them…)

The Calm app

I linked to the Amex offer: a free year for any cardholder. The meditation lessons are the highlight. They’re funny because the guide’s story is that he was once a clubby party bro and then he found meditation. It probably sounds hokey to anyone who hasn’t tried it, but after a 10 minute guided meditation, I do feel more relaxed for the rest of the day. It sure beats being angry or anxious or agitated about things I can’t solve. The rest.. well, I tried listening to the bedtime story read by Stephen Fry, and it made me imagine things (a mouse with silver claws and silver eyes) that were terrifying and made me less sleepy. I tried the Sigur Ros “calming” music too, but it sounded like a horror movie soundtrack replete with voices of haunted children.

Ok, friends. I hope that helps. Remember, die gedanken sind frei. Don’t let anyone pressure you into doing something you don’t actually believe in.

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