11 Things I'm Doing that I Love

How I'm having fun for the sake of having fun.

It’s important to me that I build my schedule with intention, infuse my days with meaningful experiences, and prioritize myself in the way I spend time and money. It’s recently become important to me that I do all of that from a healthy and predominately intrinsically motivated perspective.

Intrinsic motivation means doing things for the sake of doing them instead of for a certain reward or outcome. (For the neuroscience girlies, here’s a fascinating paper published in Frontiers in Human Neuroscience on the matter).

But in reality, and science aside, I just want to have a good time. Here are 11 ways I’m doing that in real life.

  1. Reading. I'm knocking out books from my library list slowly but surely. It's mostly been non-fiction (heavy on behavioral economics and popular science) for the last few years, but perhaps I'll push myself this summer to get deeper into fiction again. I'm currently reading a book on meaningful gathering and hosting alongside something of a Christian memoir, autobiography, and self-help combination. I’ve been a book girly since the womb and, despite the sharp genre shift, I’m glad I’m still at it.

  2. Writing. Every week, I write a new piece to share on The Disco that either challenges how well I can articulate an idea, pushes me to better understand an idea or a feeling, and/or simply challenges me to write better, tighter, and stronger. Having an editor also helps me respond better to feedback. I'm also writing for other publications and pitching (or at least I need to be pitching) regularly!

  3. Studying German. I'm actively studying German with an eventual goal of fluency, but an immediate goal of getting out of A1 before the summer has ended. I've always wanted to be able to speak multiple languages and, with some advice from a friend, I figured out that I learn best in a classroom setting. There's apparently a rather large German-speaking population in my area, complete with an entire language school for those who are interested in learning. Because it's more available to me than Japanese is, I'm excited to challenge myself intellectually in that kind of setting, especially because I know what I'm capable of if I focus and dedicate time to studying.

  4. Training for a triathlon. Because there truly are no dull moments for Thalia Monet' Butts, I'm constantly looking for new ways to interact with my physical health and get out of my comfort zone. Training so far has been really difficult, but it's going well, I’m having fun, and meeting nice people. It's also a bit scary to think that in just a few months I’ll have to do what I’m training for, but I feel very supported and encouraged and I believe in myself and I believe in my body. And if this training is doing nothing else, it’s deepening my connection with and commitment to my body as a temple for me to steward with gratitude.

  5. Traveling. I'm seeing a lot of new places this year: Seattle, London, and Lisbon. This is allowing me to stretch my newbie muscles and tap into the space between novice and expert, which has always been a really fun place for me to play around in. I'm trying out new ways of traveling with new people, too! We'll see how that works out, but if nothing else it will all help me just move a bit better and help me be a better friend.

  6. Attending talks at the local museum. I'm trying to get to my museum weekly. They have many opportunities for education throughout the week. Just last week I attended the Art Collecting 101 talk and connected with an art advisor who gave me such great wisdom and complimented my nails. I love interacting with my museum because it feels like a safe space to me that makes me feel confident and ready to learn and think critically.

  7. Meeting friends for lunch and dinner. I'm happy that I'm able to extend and deepen my social network as an adult because it was so scary to me when I was in college and I thought I wouldn't be able to do it. But I'm doing it in an organic and pleasurable way! I’m simply existing in spaces that bring me joy and that I can be myself in, and naturally getting connected to people who share similar interests! And hanging out with friends both new and old is always such a joy and makes me feel very seen and cared for.

  8. Serving, worshipping, and fellowshipping at my church. It's really important to me to have a strong faith community and feel connected, seen, and valued in that community. I am grateful to be serving in the house of my God with other believers helping people find Jesus for themselves and simply making that a bit easier for them.

  9. Spending leisure time outside. It's important to spend time outdoors that's not exclusively exercise. I achieve a lot of this on my #girlwalks with my friends because it's often much more of a social experience than it is a physical activity. I also enjoy just sitting outside to read or walk and catch up on a podcast episode without the expectation of achieving some great physical feat.

  10. Supporting local businesses. It feels really good to buy from people who look like you and support small businesses that are in your neighborhood versus buying from a giant box store online where you never really know who is behind what you're getting. Though it's a little bit pricier than Sam's Club, I've been trying to get all of my vegetables from Atlanta Harvest in Ellenwood. Though it's not my neighborhood, they're only a couple of counties over and they look like me and talk like me, and are still a part of my community at large. I also patronize the bike shop up the road. The owner, Howard, is quite literally in my neighborhood and he's such a kind, upstanding, patient, personable. He knows my name and I know his and that brings me a lot of joy.

  11. Cooking and baking. It's been a lot of trial and error in my kitchen recently. There have certainly been some blunders (a basil and blackberry scone attempt that, in my mother's words, "put a frown on her face") as well as many successes (an oven-baked lemon, garlic, and fennel salmon that my hater of a sister even said was delicious). I'm enjoying trying new recipes and being super attentive to what I consume by cooking almost all of the food I eat. There's such a power in feeding yourself food that you took the time to prepare. It's a mindfulness practice if you want it to be.

So that’s what I like to do with my time. That’s what I find fun, interesting, and challenging. Und du? What things are you doing just for the sake of doing them? What things are you attaching to really serious goals and milestones and expectations that you can afford to just do because you enjoy it? May you find that thing soon and very soon!

Thalia is now 25 years of age but is very much just a girl in this wild, wild world.