Monday, February 13, 2012

The Love List: A Gratitude-Raising Exercise

 The winner of a signed copy of Deborah Crombie's No Mark Upon Her is SUE HANNON. Sue, please send your mailing address to Congratulations!

by Julia Buckley
Since tomorrow is a nationally celebrated day of love, I thought I would share a list of things that I love, and to recommend that you make your own list. I do this on occasion, either when I need cheering up or when I feel that I'm not being grateful for what I have. The act of making the list, psychologists say, actually increases a person's happiness level by more than fifty percent. (Note: I made up that statistic).

In any case, making a love list is fun, and one list is never the same as another, because you're listing what you love TODAY, right now. This will include not only the memories that you find accessible in that moment, but the things which have recently left impressions upon you.

Here's a love list I made just for this post:


--my two teenage sons. They are inarguably violent and constantly bickering with each other (and with me), but they are smart and funny and mostly fun to be around.

--my hard-working husband. He's at work right now, proving my contention.

--the works of William Shakespeare, particularly THE TEMPEST, (and whoever may have written them--I'm content to be in ignorance forever).

--all of my pets since childhood: Midnight the cat, Buffy the dog, Simon the dog, and all of these cats: Max, Holly, Cato, Clouseau, Kahlua, Pibby Tails, Rose, and Mr. Mulliner.

--print books AND Kindles, because both of them give me access to the great storytellers.

--my own memory. I know it might someday fade away, so I treasure it highly now.

--watching tv. It may sound lowbrow, but I do love my television.

--flowers. The roses pictured above are a wee Valentine's Day present to myself (along with the red vase).

--my job. I get to discuss literature EVERY DAY.

--my mom and dad, my two brothers and two sisters. We're far apart, but still close.

--Griswald, the ancient teddy bear my mother brought me from Germany in 1971. There is a long and beautiful story behind his arrival in the U.S., but I'll save that for another post.

--Baby pictures of my children. No one else wants to see them OR talk about them, but they bring me such joy.

--ALL FOOD. But especially things made with chocolate. And extra-cheesy pizza.

--The classical station I listen to on the way to work, and the cool announcer who talks so softly I have to turn the volume way up.

--All kinds of music. Today I am especially appreciating the music of Emmylou Harris, ABBA, and Gordon Lightfoot. Oh, and The Beatles (George was my favorite).

--My vacuum cleaner, which transforms my cluttery house filled with cat-hair dustballs into something nice again.

--Going to the movies. It may be old fashioned, and the popcorn I like may be filled with horrible trans fats, but I still like going to a theatre and, yes, eating a tub of popcorn. The popcorn even gives me a stomach ache sometimes, but I want it anyway. Love is complex.

--A great mystery novel. And a great romance. And, based on my new love for the GAME OF THRONES series, I guess I enjoy fantasy, as well.

--Musicals. Today I was singing a song from "Oklahoma!" in the Jewel parking lot. I also love THE SOUND OF MUSIC, ANNIE, BRIGADOON, KISMET, THE MATCHMAKER, FIDDLER ON THE ROOF, and NO NO NANETTE.

--Babies. Any babies.

--Games. My favorite is TRIVIAL PURSUIT.

--My car. My son will be 20 by the time it's paid off, but everything in it works, and I'm glad to have it when I see all the people waiting for the bus. (It also has the very first car cd player I've ever had, and despite the fact that this is now "old" car technology, I am thrilled with it).

--The student who daily asks me what I have in my lunch. She's curious in a very sweet way. She also likes to write poetry on my whiteboard during the free period--and it's always rather beautiful poetry.

--Poetry. Today I am appreciating Edna St. Vincent Millay.

--The late Erma Bombeck.

--Candles--all shapes and sizes.

--Perfume! I am a bit of a fragrance-o-phile, and I never like to wear the same scent two days in a row. Today I am wearing Lolita Lempicka.

--Okay, last one--but this list was really fun to make! You'll think this makes me sound ultra boring, but I love MY BED. It has been so cold in our little attic room this winter that I have three blankets on our tiny bed (full size, while my husband longs for King)--but once I'm under those covers, my bed is the warmest, best place in all the world, and I have to be dragged out of it every morning.

What would be the first thing (besides your family, of course) on your love list?



Katreader said...

The first thing on my love list (not including my fur kids as they are family) is my sight. I have horrible uncorrected vision and I oftentimes worry about losing sight-but I have it and I love it as it allows me to read. It also allows me to watch TV, craft, cook, drive (so that I'm not dependent on others to go places), and do all the things I can easily take for granted.

Sandra Parshall said...

Katreader, I had to smile at your comment because I feel the same way. Few things are more precious to me than my sight, and although it may be irrational, I often worry about losing it. My hobby is photography -- and I love my camera!

Julia Buckley said...

Katreaader and Sandra, I'm with you; I often feel that my eyes are about ten years older than the rest of me, but I can see! And I always tell myself that they're inventing new things every day to help combat my aging eyes.

And you could devote a whole list just to the beautiful things you love to see each day, I'm sure.

Elizabeth Zelvin said...

Am I allowed to love something that doesn't quite exist yet? After my family (oh, those granddaughters!), I just saw proofs of the cover of my music album, and I should have CDs in my hands in about two weeks. I love them already. :) And I do love all my books and stories--I still chuckle when I reread them. I also love my GPS and my iPhone. And my car. I didn't take any long trips last year, but I'm going to Killer Nashville this summer (from NYC), a 900-mile trip each way, and I'm looking forward to it.

Julia Buckley said...

Of course you're allowed, Liz! It's your list--and what a great list.