“What does Jillian like to do? What makes Jillian happy?”
Someone asked me this question two days ago. Ignoring the fact that I hate being talked to in the third person, it got me thinking. What do I like to do? When I was a kid, the answer was easy. I liked to play outside. I liked to ride my horse. I liked to play basketball. I liked to catch frogs by the pond. But now that I’m an adult, the answer isn’t always so clear.
In the heat of the moment (and this was a very heated conversation) I blurted out that I liked my job and I liked teaching lessons and I liked taking care of horses. The person I was speaking with gave me a pitying look, shook her head, and simply repeated the question. So I said the next thing that popped into my head:
I like writing.
This earned me a nod and a smile and after talking a bit more about personal growth I didn’t know I was supposed to be doing and goals I didn’t know I was supposed to have I fled to the safety of the barn and hid for the rest of the day like the mature twenty seven year old I am.
But the question kept sneaking back into my head, and because I am just plain BAD at saying what I really feel out loud (we’re talking seriously bad – I have had full conversations in my head about what I would say to this person if given half the chance, but in the moment, when I could have said ANYTHING I wanted to say, all I could manage was “Uh… Ponies make me happy. Yay ponies!”) I decided to write my answer out.
So what does Jillian like to do? What makes her happy? Well, here are twelve things I can think of off the top of my head:
1) I really do like writing. Actually, I love it. I love sitting at my desk early in the morning with a cup of hot coffee beside me and my mind full of ideas just waiting to come out. I love creating characters and lives and stories. I love writing that final sentence and knowing I’ve finished something that started from absolutely nothing. I love editing what I’ve written, reading a particular paragraph or page, rolling my eyes at myself, and thinking “what the fuck?” I love editing what I’ve written, reading a particular paragraph or page, smiling a big goofy smile, and thinking “wow, this sounds like something out of a real book!” I love reading good reviews. I love reading bad reviews. I really just love reading anything that proves someone else read what I wrote, whether they liked it or not.
2) I like being the first one out in the barn every morning, even when I complain about it. I like when the horses whinny when they see me and my big draft mare acts like she’s starving to death and how just one measly flake of hay can make her entire day brighter.
3) I like making people laugh.
4) I like taking my two dogs for walks in town, even when one of them dives into someone’s fancy garden to go after a cat and I have to drag him back out and we haven’t been allowed back on that block since.
5) I like going into Starbucks and not knowing any of the fancy lingo and saying “I want one of those medium ones, you know, the kind that tastes like hazelnut sort of”.
6) I like calling my parents just to chat about nothing because I only see them three times a year and I miss them.
7) I like putting on my favorite Pandora station really loud and cleaning the apartment top to bottom. Weird, I know.
8) I like going to the movies by myself in the middle of the afternoon and getting a large popcorn with extra butter and eating the entire thing and not feeling a bit guilty about it afterwards.
9) I like laughing so hard my stomach hurts and my eyes tear up.
10) I like curling up on the sofa on a Sunday afternoon with nothing else to do but watch football (and maybe some Boy Meets World).
11) I like reading a really, really good book. But I hate finishing it.
12) I like listening to my dad’s crazy voicemails about turtles and catching porcupines and helpful tidbits on life in general.
So yeah. Those are some things I like. Those are some things that make me happy. Nothing fancy. Nothing extraordinary.
And that’s okay.
And that’s okay.