During the year I was approaching 40, I made it my goal to spend time figuring out what I really like and to challenge some old assumptions about what I don’t like. It was kind of an adventure to really take stock and notice what I felt about what I was inviting into my life and what I was spending my time on. When I was 41, my goal, or theme, for the year was: Know Thyself. I explored what was the right amount of sleep for me, what kind exercise I really liked (rather than just endured), and what my favorite flavor of ice cream was (still mint chip?). I felt like it was worthwhile to spend time tuning into how I really feel and noticing what I really like, maybe because I wasn’t sure whether what I thought I liked was still accurate, or ever was.
It is a process I am still working on now. I am still refining my tastes. I’ve found that I don’t like scary movies as much as I used to, except the not-that-scary ones from the 70s and 80s. I still get very overstimulated by crowds, so big, popular events with lots of people, even if they are very very cool, are more likely to be endured rather than enjoyed. And my favorite pen is the Pilot Precise V5 Extra Fine, in blue or black.
I enjoy finding out when my likes or dislikes change. Every so often I revisit things I didn’t like, in case my tastes have changed. When I was younger I didn’t like orange marmalade. I thought it tasted bitter. Now it is one of my favorite toast toppings. It is exciting when new favorites are discovered.
Personally, I always have a hard time narrowing down my all-time favorite book or song. I have too many! But I can usually answer, “What is your favorite book that you’ve read recently?” I can pinpoint what my favorite is right now– not something that I enjoyed in the past or was meaningful to me in 6th grade, but something I’m glad is part of my life now.
You can always get new favorites or bring back old favorites; part of the fun is just exploring.
Get to know yourself and what you like. It is another way to invite small moments of happiness, joy, magic, and sacred into our daily lives.
One of my favorite things about walking in winter is that the trees are bare and I can see more of the houses in my neighborhood when I go on my daily walks. I admire the architecture as well as the gardens, front doors, mailboxes, and other charming details of a home. I have several favorite houses in my neighborhood, and I have shared pictures of them throughout this issue. Some are big and fancy and others are small and charming. Some have interesting windows, or slate roofs, or pretty trim, or charming ivy, or pretty shutters. Usually it is the small details that make a house, and a life, magical.