About two years ago, I started building a list of the “essentials” I need in my life to be happy. I’ve never written this list down anywhere, but it’s been floating around in my head since then, occasionally gaining additions as I discover something new that makes my life feel more complete. I generally consider myself a pretty low maintenance person, so the list isn’t long - just long enough. Today I’d like to share a few of these things with you.
1. My mom - my best friend, my confidant and my greatest supporter. The hardest part about living in Des Moines is being so far from her, though we set a goal of trying to see each other every six weeks - any longer and we both start to fall apart. When I’m stressed out or crabby, the first thing my boyfriend asks is, “Have you talked to your mom recently?” Even 5 minutes on the phone or a quick text make a world of difference.
2. Books. I didn’t feel settled into my Des Moines apartment until my parents brought down my boxes and boxes of books, and now, with my Kindle, I’m able to borrow and buy even more books without them having to take up space in my apartment. Whether they’re Kindle books or “real books,” just being surrounded by them instantly makes me feel secure, but I’ve also loved having the free time now to start tackling my “to read” list.
3. Running. If someone had told me six months ago that running would be part of this list, I would have looked at them like they were crazy. Five months ago, I started running for the first time, and while I’ve taken breaks here and there, it’s still hard to believe that I’ve logged almost 160 miles since then. As someone who always used asthma as an excuse for being in shape, I am more confident than ever that I can accomplish even the most daunting tasks if I push myself hard enough.
4. Taco Dip - a silly one, but it’s true! My cousin Kelly (basically my life-twin) brings taco dip to all of our family get-togethers, and it’s always been my favorite because it’s addictive, healthy and easy to make. I mix an 8 oz package of cream cheese with a bit of salsa, then layer on shredded lettuce, chopped green onions, diced tomatoes and shredded cheese (but I leave out the olives in the photo above - I’m not the olive fan).
5. Musicals. Somewhere around middle school I realized that I had no future in the vocal arts, but that doesn’t mean I don’t love musicals. The choreography, the over-the-top plot lines, the gets-stuck-in-your-head quality of the soundtracks - I find it all intoxicating. I’m thankful that Des Moines is able to bring such fantastic productions to the Civic Center, and Robbie and I are excited beyond words to see Wicked this December.