Hi everyone – another post from second daughter. I wrote this a few months ago and felt like now is an appropriate time to share it (although there a few things on this list I’m not able to do right now, especially ones that involve spending too much money).
I’m sending prayers and love to everyone during these very, very hard times. Maybe this will inspire you to make a Joy List to fill up with things to do when you want to scream during social distancing.
Have you ever had someone ask you what brings you “true joy” in your life? It really makes you feel very spoiled when you freeze up. Which is exactly what I did when my therapist asked me this on Monday during an emergency phone session after a particularly terrible weekend.
A year ago, my normal response to any crisis would be to spend the day crying, taking too many Xanax, binge eating, throwing it all up, drinking a bottle of wine, crying more, maybe some physical self-harm. Glamourous, right? And I’m not going to lie – sometimes I still strongly consider those terrible self-destructive behaviors. I am still in recovery, and I fight these urges everyday.
But here’s the thing: I am much stronger now than I was before I got sick. Instead of going down what my dad refers to as “the dark hole,” (basically, my crippling cycle of depression and anxiety), I sat at my desk to write down things that really bring me joy. And I couldn’t stop. I kept coming up with more and more. I actually cut this version down a lot.
The most amazing thing happened when I finished my Joy List and read back through it. I realized that these are all things I do for myself. I don’t expect other people to come to the rescue and pull me out of the hole anymore (although I feel no shame in asking when I need help).
I’m not your therapist (thank God, I can’t imagine having a 60-minute conversation and not talking about myself once), but I highly suggest making a list like this. Turn to it when you feel yourself going down that hole. Try doing just one thing off your list, or making a whole week of committing to at least one Joy List activity per day.
You can even use some of my ideas, but I would do so with caution. I’m not claiming to be responsible or anything less than highly delusional.
My Joy List:
- Taking a long walk outside (fuck the treadmill, honestly)
- Coloring (I am a small child)
- Drinking expensive wine
- Drinking cheap wine
- Playing on iMovie (this is weird and random)
- Reading The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron (again and again and again)
- Writing postcards to people (practically nobody writes me back except my grandma. Love you Monnie)
- Listening to Taylor Swift (I’ve been a fan since I saw her perform at the Erie County Fair – can you believe that? – when she was about sixteen)
- Potato chips, with champagne, or just plain potato chips, fucking duh
- Looking on the Christian Louboutin website (this could also be on my Torture Myself List)
- Opening a new notebook (Christian Lacroix, because I’m amazing at budgeting and spend 30 dollars on a notebook and then eat rice with soy sauce for a week)
- Writing affirmations (yea, I’m one of those people now, that I used to roll my eyes at)
- Taking myself out for dinner (scary the first few times, but you must try it. Sit at the bar if you have to ease yourself into it, and definitely pregame)
- Buying myself a shit ton of fresh flowers (and then eating rice and soy sauce for another week)
- Trying a new recipe (success or failure, still fun)
- Anything involving Ariana Grande
- Reading a funny memoir or good thriller (I have plenty of recommendations if you’re interested)
- Laying in the sun (certified professional)
- Facetiming my sisters
- Xanax (sorry, can’t cut this one out, but can cut it down. It’s prescription!)
- Buying shit I don’t need at CVS (put it on dad’s card. If he asks, it was for my medications, not a 40-dollar hair mask)
- Making a to-do list, then either crossing things off it or losing it
- Wearing my Louboutins for no reason (watching a movie alone)
- Making coffee (so simple, so amazing)
- Snuggling up in my dad’s cashmere sweaters (I love you so so very much, dad)
- Watching my mom cook (but pretending I have something urgent to do when she needs help with dishes)
- Binge watching serial killer shows (at least it’s not binge eating anymore. What’s more disturbing though?)
- Researching Death Row (one guy asked for a single black olive with the pit still in it as his last meal. Fascinating)
- Leaving my Louboutins on the kitchen counter after a night out
- Giving people a fake name at the bar
- Inventing jobs I don’t have (mostly to Uber drivers)
- Getting my eyeliner JUST RIGHT
- Opening the car windows
- Blow drying my hair (my hair is insured for 10 million dollars)
- Dancing to Bohemian Rhapsody (sometimes I film it. 20 dollars for footage)
- Singing in the car (Taylor Swift)
- Getting attention
- Being left alone
- Taking care of my plants (not orchids. Fuck orchids)
- Looking at diamond rings and wedding dresses on Instagram (I’m very single)
- Taking 3pm naps, every day (the essence of joy)
- Annoying my mom (on purpose, NOT on accident)
- Flirting with bartenders or waiters
- Feeding my puppy eat a baby carrot and watching her eat it
- Bitching about how tired I am
- Not answering phone calls (sorry, Lexi and Caroline)
- Drunk dialing friends
- Planning and throwing parties (for myself or someone else, especially birthdays)
- Setting the table for myself, cooking dinner, lighting candles, and sitting down to eat alone
- Cooking for other people (thank you, mom, for passing this down to me)
- Fantasizing about my wedding (still single)
- Drinking at the airport (no rules)
- Borrowing mom’s Chanel bags when she’s out of town (annoying her)
- Charging my little sister to do her homework
- Watching my dad try to type on his phone or computer (using only his index fingers, you know the move)
- Writing poetry
- Wearing lingerie for no reason (usually with Louboutins)
I’ve also noticed a lot of things on this list involve Louboutins. Guess I better spend some more money on another pair. And then get ready for a long two weeks of eating fucking rice.
By Sarah Collins