Week 20: Plug-Incompatible Activities

This year, I set myself 22 little goals to pursue throughout the year. I call them the 22 in 22. They may all seem a bit random, but they were important to me at the time I made my New Year’s Resolution. Each Saturday, I take a few minutes to check my progress on a few of my goals.

#12 Set aside “unplugged” hours of the day

With that immense stock of raw wool sitting out on my balcony right now, this has become immeasurably easier. The beauty of this kind of enterprise is that there is no way you can possibly be looking at a screen while doing it. (Unlike my other “unplugged” project, the virtue definitions, which will eventually require the intermediary of a screen.)

I’ll write more later about how the process of taking an incredibly filthy fleece and turning it into something clean, fluffy and usable is amazing for my mental health. But suffice it to say for now that my spare time right now is screen-free and I’m thrilled about it.

#20 Practice Mindfulness: articulate and savor the good moments

This is a very easy habit to lose, which is a real shame. And it’s not the kind of habit that has a physical consequence–like, getting enough water prevents dehydration. Exercise makes our body strong. Getting enough sleep keeps us even-keeled. Nope.

When we stop being mindful of the good moments, nothing happens other than time just passes more quickly and without anything to show for it. Our memories get packed away in tissue paper like a wedding a dress, to be brought out again in 50 years. Or not.

And yet there were a few, fleeting moments this week when, particularly my youngest, did something that stopped me in my tracks. I can actually count the number of times I turned to my husband and actually said, “Is he unbelievable or what?”

I’m going to count those times as articulating and savoring the good moments. There is something powerful in saying the good things out loud. Their power lasts longer than saying the bad things out loud–complaining about traffic is satisfying in the moment, and then it’s gone. On the other hand, the impact of articulating a good moment lasts much much longer.

#19 Get off the Hedonic Treadmill

I’m taking a second just to recognize a strange little fact: I haven’t been wanting lately.

Now, this isn’t only a good thing. This signals a kind of lack of motivation in general, since for me, wanting is synonymous with motivation. A kind of “I want, therefore I do” kind of mentality.

And honestly, I don’t know which I would rather be: wanting but efficient, or content but unmotivated. The idea that I could be unmotivated is not something I am accustomed to, and feels like an ill-fitting jacket that I can barely squeeze my arms into and barely button closed. It makes me self-conscious and like I should be doing something, but can’t or don’t want to.

Hopefully, this is just a transition towards summertime, knowing that I will have less time to work. Like this is a kind of mental adaptation to this fact–my mind and my heart are already “grieving” the productive hours by rejecting what time I currently do have.

For whatever reason, this has resulted in not being on the Hedonic Treadmill, and I can’t be sure that this is exactly a good thing.

Episode 32: Environment and Ecology Sing With Your Feet

Talking Points: “Not on my Green Parenting Bingo Card,” LiElla is back!; Geeking out and going out green. Episode 32 is part of our series on the Ideal Life Categories, this week's theme being "Environment and Ecology." The series began back in Episode 15: The One About Our Bodies, in case you want to get caught up! Links: Learn more about LiElla Kelly, Death Doula, on her website and blog, Leaving Well…The Blog. or on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/leaving.well.death.doula/ or Facebook https://www.facebook.com/search/top?q=leaving%20well%20end-of-life%20planning You can contact Lily by email: lily@lilyfieldschallenge.com, or find her other work here: https://linktr.ee/lilyfieldschallenge
  1. Episode 32: Environment and Ecology
  2. Episode 31: Mental Health
  3. Episode 30: Contentment
  4. Episode 29: Commitments
  5. Episode 28: Lucidly Ever After

Published by Lily Fields

I am passionate about contentment. This is a challenge, because I am equally passionate about progress. I get up at 4:00AM to chip away at a solution to this monolithic problem: how to make progress on my contentment. Born and raised in the USA, I married a French philosophy teacher in 1999. We have lived in France since 2007. We stayed young and carefree until life threw us two curveballs in the form of little humans one after another in 2015 and 2017 respectively. Now I am a slightly older, slightly more exhausted version of myself, but with mystery stains on my walls and a never-ending pile of laundry.

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