I’m a true believer that being happy all the time is completely unnatural. Smiling all the time is for the demented.

That being said, its good to go through a funk and its good to come back out of one. The process itself is a journey that takes work. But it is an experience that teaches and forces us to grow a bit more every time we take it and the novelty and sense of wonder and satisfaction only grows the older we get. The more we go through the more we appreciate the small things in life. Recently, I’ve been putting more effort into getting back to the things I enjoy. Along the way, I’m rediscovering very small things that I haven’t done in months or years that I’ve forgotten bring me pleasure.

Here is a list of just a few of my favorite things.

1. Laughing hysterically because I can’t stop. Not because I’m drunk. Not because I’m putting on a smile for the world, but because it’s just that damned funny. Laughter. I love it and I don’t have enough of it. I’m on an eternal search to find things that make me laugh because the world is a sad sorry place if I can’t laugh at the absurdity of it all.

2. Attending a decent party with lots of good food, low-key music, and good company. Those are the best times. Times when you can have a decent conversation with someone new and reconnect with extended acquaintances.  These parties are best when they’re full of laughter. And beer.

3. Reading. Books, articles, stories, who cares? Reading. Reading for pleasure, reading for pain, reading to feel something different and escape our own lives. It’s like watching my own personal movie in my head. The story might not be mine, but my imagination is; every time I read a book it grows and extends in directions I never thought possible.

4. Sitting in the sunshine. Beautiful days. Sitting in the sunshine, even in the city, can turn my whole day around. The air smells lighter, my mood is lighter, everything is better, and shinier, and new.

5. Crossword puzzles. A good crossword can keep me occupied for hours. The maddening frustration of not being able to figure it out is enjoyable.  I’m a sucker for punishment.

6. Putting on make up. I love it. I love the smell of it. I love the rush of finding new eye shadow that looks good on me, or new eye liner. New lipstick or chapstick. I put it on everyday. Not because it makes me look beautiful, although it certainly doesn’t hurt. Not because other girls admire it, though I appreciate it when they do. Certainly not for the few guys that manage to notice it, because let’s be honest here. Make up is completely lost on guys. I like it for the sheer pleasure of feeling good. Sure. I can go out without make-up and know I look good. But I like it. I’ll never be an artist, a painter, nor a  singer.  I’m no designer, nor am I crafty. But I can paste that shit on every day and feel like I’ve created my own masterpiece right on my face. And that’s cool.

7. Beer. What can  I say? It’s the alcoholic in me. I love beer. I deeply love IPAs. Some of the best breweries and the best beers I’ve ever tasted have come out of Michigan. I like a cold brew in the summer, a cold brew in the winter. The best brew is kicking back outside on a porch or in the yard with a friend or two for company and some music.

8. Music. Classic rock, alternative rock. Techno. Hip hop. It’s gotten in my blood and I can’t let it go. A good song comes on my iPod and my whole day shines.

9. Fruit.  Green grapes, grapefruit, peaches, nectarines, strawberries, blue berries, I can almost feel their juices gushing down my throat. Papayas, raspberries, apples. Shit, I’ll even eat a watermelon. I love them. I think the only fruit I’ve ever encountered that I truly didn’t like were mandarins, because they’re just lame imitation oranges anyway.

10.  Things that shine and shimmer. I love it. I don’t even care what it is. It appeals to my eyes and makes me want to smile. I guess because I associate it with magic. I wish. I really wish that there was magic in the world. But since there’s not, the next best thing will do. Shimmer and shine, scintillate and gleam. The words themselves are a pleasure.

11. The color blue. Its true. I’m coming out and just admitting it. Green isn’t my favorite color. I’m not sure it ever was. It’s blue. It’s always been blue. Blue.  I love you. You make me happy.

12. Hitting the gym. Nothing like pushing your body to clear your mind. Here its even more fun to watch the Taiwanese guys’ jaws drop when they see a girl actually lifting some weights. My face might not show it, but I’m laughing on the inside.

13. Virtually all outdoor activities make me happy. I’ll go ahead and clump in swimming, hiking, biking and everything else into one.

14. A clean apartment. It’s always such a pain in the ass to  clean, but the feeling of general well-being afterwards is worth it every time.

15. Being in nature and fresh flowers.

So those are just a few of my favorite things. I have many more where that came from.

What picks you up when you’re down? What did you just recently rediscover you loved?