When I first realized I was knee-deep in mud at a crossroads I didn’t recognize, a very wise friend told me that if I wanted to find my path I should keep a list of all of the things that I like.  It didn’t matter what the context – just keep adding to the list.  Eventually, as I became more aware of the things I liked, I would not only be able to see a pattern that could lead me forward, but also see more of the things I liked.


I liked all of the usual stuff: reading, music, movies, live theater, beers with friends, making a new friend, coffee, cooking, traveling, road trips (they deserve their own listing) chocolate, wine, ripe strawberries, sex, everything bagels with veggie cream cheese, feeling pretty …..


And I liked:  thunderstorms, cheese, cheesiness, cardio highs, feeling strong, making lists, figuring it out, making other people feel better, hanging on, letting go, loving fiercely, creating, dating older men, beaded curtains, strings of chili pepper lights, Film on the Rocks, knowing what to do, quirky habits in other people, the idea of living life to its fullest, the concept of no regrets….


And there were many more, but most important to me: laughing.


If you’re laughing, you’re happy, right? At least a little part of you? Maybe the only thing that’s funny is how absurd the situation is, but you still see the humor in it.


So after keeping the list for a few months (and I confess, I frequently went weeks without adding to it), New Year’s Eve rolled around.  People started asking what my resolutions were going to be for the upcoming year.  I hate resolutions.  They are never treated like goals; they are hung around your neck as cast iron reminders that you are failing yourself in some way.  Just like the word “should,” they rarely induce anything besides guilt.  Either you’re going to do the work you brought home or you aren’t; why ruin the entire evening brooding over something you aren’t going to do?


I made one resolution: Have more fun.


I wanted to laugh more.


In the beginning, it was fantastic.  Stay home and do laundry? Sorry, my resolution is to have more fun.  I’m joining my friends for cocktails on a heated patio.  Worry about the weight I’ve put on? Can’t – I have a dinner party to host.  Work a few more hours on Sunday morning? Love to, but I’ve got plans to cuddle with my couch while I watch a Law & Order marathon.  I read more books, watched more movies, and deliberately indulged more whims than I ever had before.


After a while, unfortunately, I started feeling busy and responsible and left my resolution at a rest stop somewhere between Colorado and Michigan.


These past few weeks, though, I’ve begun living it.  Without making a conscious effort, I have been shirking all of the voluntary responsibilities I typically assume in favor of spending time with friends, drinking too much, staying up too late, sleeping through my morning gym time, and plotting delicious adventures.


I can feel the solid ground beneath my feet.  I’m not sure which road I ended up on and I don’t know which way I’m going to go, but somehow I left the mud behind.  I didn’t force myself to have more fun.  I just did it.  It feels natural.  I think all of the answers are starting to feel like enough, and I am starting to feel like me.  I still have roads to travel – that’s just life – but I think the worst stretch is behind me, which means the rest will be more fun.