Five things that made me happy in August

Feeling happier

I know it’s not really fair to say that feeling happier makes me happy. My baseline, though, is that I almost always have some depression symptoms, with cycles where they get worse. Things had been not-so-good for me since about February, with June and July being especially hard. This has included lots of moments feeling like I’d never not feel depressed.

I find myself pretty delighted, then, to not have had very significant symptoms of depression for about the last five weeks. It has felt amazing to see that those thoughts about how I’d never not feel depressed weren’t true.

I’m trying to focus on enjoying this stretch as long as I have it. I’m kind of in an uncertain place in life at the moment, what with not being sure right now where things are heading with school and work. It’s especially when I start feeling anxious or frustrated about this, though, that I try to focus on the moment and enjoy. I’ve found I still can feel happy, even when I’m nervous and unsure about the big picture.

The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel

I’ve gotten to spend time with all of my family this summer, including with my stepdaughters (to New York City and Washington, D. C., plus most of the other trips); in-laws (Yellowstone and the Tetons); and my parents, sisters, and their families (Ft. Robinson, Nebraska, and St. Louis). This included a few nights in Denver with my sister and her husband and kids in their new house.

Pretty Denver evening

My sister had me watch an episode of The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel with her, and I got hooked. I’ve been watching episodes on my own since. The show is well done. I enjoy the character Miriam Maisel, and I wish I were a little more like her—funny, but also resilient and determined, and pretty darn good at whatever she sets her mind to. It’s a fun one to watch.

Traveling with my husband

Like I mentioned, there were lots of trips this summer with lots of different family members. The last one, though, was just my husband and I. He needed to be in Florida for a week for work, and bought me a plane ticket to come along as a birthday present.

That little purple dot in the water is a jellyfish!

The trip included a weekend road trip New Orleans and a couple beach days (including seeing lots of jellyfish and—I think—a small shark). Most of all, though, it was just nice to spend time just the two of us after a pretty packed summer. The trip made me happy.

Nighttime bike riders in the French Quarter

Meal planning and grocery shopping

During that Florida trip, my husband and I agreed we’d try out the keto diet when we got home. I’ve been apprehensive about the idea of giving up carbs and—especially—sweets. I’ve been eating pretty terribly the last few months, though, and the scale has definitely moved up. I decided I’d be going all-in on trying keto.

I did some meal planning, including thinking through snacks, and my husband and I went real grocery shopping for the first time in months. We’ve been cooking and eating in this week. So far, I’m finding I actually really like the diet. I don’t feel restricted—it’s based around counting carbs, not calories, and I can grab a snack when I want. I’m also just energized about and motivated by this new effort to try to be healthier. It hasn’t been long, but so far it’s been really positive. *Knock on wood.*

Getting back to the gym

Trying to work out regularly has also been just off the last few months (we’ve been traveling, then I caught a cold…). I’m starting to get back into it, though.. My awesome mom got me a gym pass for my birthday. I’m proud of myself for going to a strength class at the gym last night, and I’m excited to find new ones I haven’t done yet. Working out really does make me feel good.

I can get pretty frustrated with myself when I don’t do everything I wanted to get done. It can be helpful to focus on the positive, and on the things that did go well. There have been lots of positives for August. I’m looking forward to the ones I find next month.

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