I played my drums today.
That makes two days in a row after several weeks of merely dusting them. A friend shared with me some basic beats he learned in his drum class and I've been wanting to practice them for days, but just had too many important things I needed to do.
Playing the drums isn't important. Or at least I didn't think it was until today. Not until the rain that wasn't supposed to arrive until tomorrow showed up a day early, forcing me to postpone a family photo shoot I had scheduled with a friend this afternoon.
We've had a tough time meshing our calendars. I had already postponed the shoot once to go to a meeting I had forgotten about. Now it will be another two weeks before we can meet up.
Disappointed and discouraged, I picked up the sticks and banged away for a little while, not in the mood to do anything else.
It didn't make me any money. I couldn't cross it off of my long to-do list. But I felt better. A few rays of mental sunshine broke through the rainclouds that had somehow rolled into my head.
It made me think of BlogHer's Life Well Lived question for this week: How do you put yourself first? How does taking time for yourself help make you happier?
Almost every morning I take my puppies for a walk. That makes me happy, but as much as I love my walks, the joy in their faces is contagious and makes my heart soar.
In fact, most of my happiness is triggered by doing things for others. I truly believe that's the secret to happiness.
But there's a need for balance. Even Jesus took breaks from the crowds, heading off into the mountains or across the sea to be by himself. If he needed breaks, how much more so do we, to keep ourselves from becoming burned out or resentful?
Playing the drums makes me happy. Slipping off for a lunch... or a weekend... with my friends (or my husband) makes me happy. Having my hair cut by someone who knows how to cut my hair makes me happy.
That first cup of coffee in a quiet house... stepping away from the computer into the early afternoon sunshine... taking photographs of flowers and full moons... writing... reading... these all make me happy.
And that happiness is like a big deep breath, a surge of energy coursing through my body, revitalizing me, giving me what I need to help others.
What about you? How do you put yourself first? (Do you?)
And how does taking time for yourself help make you happier?