This is (the beginnings of) a list of some of my favorite feelings.

oregon_beach_800w1. Not being able to resist running into the ocean. Over the summer I spent some time with family on the Oregon Coast. My sister and cousin and I spent hours jumping over waves. And it took so much willpower not to dive straight into the surf. The water was freezing cold and I am acutely thalassophobic, but I found myself running straight into the crashing waves with every intention of turning into a mermaid and swimming away.

2. Someone enjoying what I cook for them. I love to cook, and I am eternally grateful to my parents for introducing me to the kitchen from a young age. I also have a strong nurturing instinct, and always want the people around me to be happy and well fed. I am ecstatic when someone genuinely enjoys a dish that I have prepared. It fills me with a feeling of self worth and motherly pride.

3. Eating enough to be happily full. This one is connected to food, as well. As I’ve talked about before, I recently became vegan, and this new diet brought a whole host of new feelings with it. I love eating so much dal and rice that I think I might burst. It puts a satisfied smile on my face, because it fuels my body and my brain with positivity.

4. Butterflies. This is a feeling that everyone has experienced, yet, it is nearly impossible to describe. But, I’ll try my best. This feeling can come from a friendly compliment, spending time with someone you love, or even reading about love in a book or watching it onscreen. To me, it feels like my heart is running and leaping out of my chest, but my ribs are holding it back.

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5. Driving down highways with good music in a car full of friends. It’s the feeling of being surrounded by love, and doing something that, for teenagers, is very cliche, but more fun that imaginable.

6. When babies smile back at me or laugh at something I’ve done. It is a small goal in my life to make children happy. If I see a baby in a pram or a toddler on a scooter, I can’t help but grin at them. And when that little face smiles back at me, my heart glows. Better yet, if my smile can stop a kid from crying, I feel like I’ve accomplished something genuine that day.

7. Being reunited with a friend I haven’t seen in months. This wasn’t a feeling I was familiar with until I moved to London. I didn’t see any of my friends from home for almost six months. But last December, I had two friends come visit me. The anticipation of standing in front of that gate at Heathrow was very Love Actually. But it was nothing compared to the moment I watched them walk through the double doors and into my arms. This feeling was replicated over and over again this summer when I went back to Seattle for a month. There is so much joy in a hug like that.

8. Filling every page of a notebook. When I was young, my sister was constantly filling notebooks with sketches and thoughts. It was only recently that I filled every page of a notebook with words, drawings, tickets and stickers. And there was so much satisfaction in my heart when I closed the back cover and shelved the black notebook away for future reference. The feeling is similar to finishing a lipstick.

67250379. Finishing a book and feeling like I learned something. I love it when a book wasn’t a waste of my time. Some recent ones that have taught me a lot are: Mitch Albom’s The Five People You Meet In Heaven, a lovely novel about the way worlds are connected, Daniel Handler’s The Basic Eight and Why We Broke Up, which are two equally lovely but very different tales about young adult life, and Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale, a strange story that explores the possibility of a terrifying future.

10. Laughing so hard I cry or can’t breathe. I don’t think anyone can disagree with this one.

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