35 Ways to Deal With Life

Numbers 16-35

Scroll to the post below for an intro and numbers 1-16.  Everyone deals with life differently, but personally I’ve found that self-education is a common element in so many of the items on the lists below.  It keeps me thinking about the things I get joy from, instead of the million daily complains I have with life.  Read on.  I hope you find something new to love.

16.       Get Rid of Cable TV

Cable TV is junk food.  If you have a computer, the internet, and Netflix, you can get rid of cable TV and you won’t miss a thing.  I get all my up-to-the-minute news online, which is where it lives now (sorry, Brian Williams).  I still watch RuPaul’s Drag Race, Survivor, and NBC’s Thursday night line-up.  I just watch them online.  CON:  You don’t have a DVR, but you’re also not paying for it.  Also, the commercials are much louder than your program and you don’t have a remote to mute your computer.  (Which sucks when the commercial begins with a screaming child.)  PRO:  The commercials are shorter – there’s only two or three of them.  We save almost $100 a month doing this.  Simplify, man.

17.       Get Netflix Instead

With the money we saved from ditching cable, we got Netflix for about $10 a month.  Netflix streams movies and television shows right to your telly.  I’m viewing much higher quality content than if I were to spend a couple of hours with cable.

18.       Drink Tea

It’s good for you.  And something nice to learn about.

19.       Go Back in Time

My time is medieval.  I love the troubadours, the tapestries, the arms and armor, the nonexistent plumbing.  It’s always been “my time”.  My husband wishes he was a teenager in the 1960’s.  My best friend loves turn-of-the-century American cities.  Let your imagination go to work.  Learn to love history.

20.       Chew Gum

It’ll get rid of negative energy and you’ll do less stress eating.  Keep it on the down low at work.

21.       Practice Seeing

Just read John Berger’s Ways of Seeing, and try to tell me that perspective isn’t everything. The idea is that we more often look at things rather than learning how to see them for what they really are.  Appreciation of nature, jazz, portraiture, and poetry (among things) are heightened.  Taking the time to do this will immensely increase your ability to enjoy life.

22.       Have Sex

Don’t forget.

23.       Use the Mails

I have only one friend in my town.  Everyone else lives at least an hour away.  My oldest best friend lives a 13-hour drive away.  He and I recently started a book exchange – a shared library is the richer for it.  I also play with mailing art back and forth with gal pals from my art school days.  Keeps you creative, keeps you thinking.

24.       Go Abroad

If you can afford it, go to another country far away.  It gives you the much-needed perspective you can only get by doing so.  It’s a blessing to be able to experience other parts of the world, plus it gives you something to look forward to.  In a recent study about traveler happiness, the most joy the travelers gained from the trip happened while planning it.  I like Europe for the food, art, and civility.  I’d like to see India or Thailand next.

25.   Call Your Mom

I’ve gotten to the age where my mom is also my friend.  Moms can be really funny if you give them the chance.  But you never call…  (Just kidding.  Seriously though, call her.)

26.   Sweep

There’s a reason ashrams give you menial domestic work.  It offsets the operating costs AND sweeping the floor gets rid of negative energy.  Your home will feel cleaner, brighter and ready for anything.  So will you.

27.   Take a Long Walk Without a Watch

I walked a pretty challenging route to the post yesterday with only that old iPod shuffle that doesn’t tell time.  Not knowing what time it was was actually liberating.  I could enjoy my walk.  Spring coming up in baby ferns and grasses; a windy cornflower blue sky; the neighborhood dude on his motorcycle.  You’ll burn a bunch of calories, dispel anxiety, feel accomplished and sleep well that night.

28.   Run

Forrest Gump knew it.  Lola knew it.  Running is simple freedom.  Yoga is great and all, but I cheat on Her with running.  Running off a bad day at work has staved off me quitting my job countless times.

29.   Night Driving

Night driving was one of my and my husband’s favorite first date activities.  We still love it.  In cool weather, open your car’s moon roof or open a window and take a country drive at night with your beloved.  Hook up the tunes, and bring a thermos of tea.  It really gets magical when you can stop and turn off the headlights in the middle of a long straightaway.  The moon is huge and within grasp, lighting up the fields surrounding you for miles.  You’re the only ones on earth.

30.   Read Plays

Shakespeare, Ibsen, and it don’t get sweeter than Tennessee Williams.  Try something different and read plays for a change.  (Also, you might pick up a new accent or two.)

31.   Watch Old Movies

If you don’t feel like a million bucks after Singing in the Rain, you’re heartless.  The Red Shoes, Daddy Long Legs, An Affair to Remember, Jules and Jim, Cleo from 5 to 7.  Many stream live on Netflix.  They’re time-transporting jewels from when American (and French) cinema was great.

32.   Seek a New Perspective

Hike to an altitude.  Breathe deeply and take a lot of time to look around.

33.   Love Animals

Maybe that’s unrealistic.  You don’t have to love animals, but it helps.  Petting an animal releases endorphins.  Simple.  Learn about your favorite animals and stand up for them.  Be on their side.  (Ask yourself why some are for loving and some are for eating.  What’s the difference?)

34.  Care for a plant.

Years ago when my grandma died, my grandpa took over caring for her fern.  When he died last year, I took over caring for their fern.  My mom just paid me the biggest compliment when she said, “this fern is doing better than ever”.  Usually I’m a black thumb gardener.  But I still enjoy doing it.  If they say talking to a plant helps it grow, then it must be positively therapeutic for you.

35.   Have Happiness

When you start to feel the lightness that accompanies happiness, just let yourself feel it.  Try not to subconsciously dredge up something to worry about.  Just ride the wave of the impending happiness.  Don’t chase it away.  As Leonard Cohen says, “ring the bells that still can ring”.

So how do you deal?  Tell us.


3 Comments on “35 Ways to Deal With Life”

  1. I especially like “Love Animals”–cute cat! RT

  2. Carol Khoury says:

    Love it…especially the part about night drives. I forgot how much fun — and romantic — that is. I would also add #36 In the fall or early spring when it’s cool outside, drive a convertible with the top down and the heat cranked way up. The best!

  3. Jen says:

    Suggestion for reading plays-any by Tom Stoppard. He’s the best playwright of our time, imho. 🙂

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