Dear 100 Hour Board,
What are some simple things you do that give your life meaning? Interpreted however you like (hobbies, daily habits, etc).
-depressed and stressed
Dear quadruple gulp,
Something I've previously discussed in Board Question #92491 is food, specifically, cooking. I really like how Tipperary explains this below--it's accessibility, practicality, share-ability, way to explore other cultures from the comfort and budget of your own dang dwelling, and opportunities to improve.
Also, there's just new stuff out there you can make. Weird things. Things you dream about. Things like this cake:
"Pumpkin State of Mind":
Roasted pumpkin miso bavarois, quince jelly, plain genoise, topped with mirror glaze. Made for a friend's pumpkin-food party.
Clumsy in some ways--the bavarois (mousse) didn't stay set, the proportions were off, the genoise (cake layer) rubbery--since it was my first time making anything in it, I'm still happy with it as a proof of concept and amped to find ways I can improve. Also, I nailed the mirror glaze on my first try! And I curse The Great British Baking Show for ever teaching me what a mirror glaze was.
Fancy components list aside, it's basically a vaguely-edible pile of gunk.
Was it remarkably delicious? Remarkably, no. But it succeeded in impressing like five friends, which is part of my crowlike strategy of gaining their alliance by bringing trinkets to their doorstep.
P.S. Other things I like to do to jazz up my life are risky activities like canyoneering, caving, and "just checking the internet real quick for like, one thing."
Dear Double Whammy,
Ardilla mentioned food in his answer and I wholeheartedly agree. My great grandmother had depression, and one way she dealt with it was baking bread. Like, if you read her old journals she mentions the loaves of bread she baked everyday. Why is food a good thing to bring meaning? Let me give some really good reasons:
- It's easy to start: Cooking might be intimidating to some, but there are so many easy places to start. Take grilled cheese for example: You can slap two slices of american cheese between white bread and microwave it for 30 seconds. Then you can move onto cooking it in a pan. Then you can play with different cheeses, sauces, breads etc. No matter your skill level, there's something in cooking you can start to learn and be successful at.
- You can build mastery and a sense of accomplishment: When you start cooking you aren't going to be perfect (and you'll always make mistakes no matter how good you are). But when you nail a recipe it just feels so good. I feel like a boss every time I make a good omelet. Apparently, there's some scientific backing for this sense of accomplishment. According to research the three things that lead to greatest job satisfaction are mastery, autonomy, and purpose (source). So cooking isn't a job, but I think the feeling of mastery is still quite satisfactory.
- Mess-ups aren't that bad: I've made a lot of mediocre pancakes, quesadillas, and bowls of ramen. However, even though they weren't as good as they could have been, they still tasted pretty fine. If you pay attention while cooking and don't burn anything to a crisp or add a half cup of salt like 95% of your culinary failures are still gonna taste good. That's a pretty awesome rate of success for failure.
- Lots of small tasks: I enjoy cooking when I have a stressful day because I can focus on the little tasks such as chopping vegetables, measuring ingredients, stirring stuff etc.
- Creativity: The sky is the limit when you are cooking. It's a great way to express yourself. Want to make an Italian stir fry? Go for it! Do you want to put spaghetti on top of pizza? No one is stopping you. If you are a creative person cooking is an endless blank canvas waiting for your creativity.
- Variety is the spice of life: Cooking new recipes is literally the spice of life. Cooking is a great way to mix up your daily routine and try new things.
- Connect with other cultures: I've never gotten to travel to Italy (one day) but I love trying different Italian food. When I make food from places I've visited it takes me back. Food is a great way to experience and appreciate other cultures.
- Connect with your friends: This is honestly my favorite part of cooking. It makes everything I make so much more meaningful. I used to not cook that much, but once I started dating my fiancée I've started cooking way more. She gets home late for work and I love having a meal for her when she gets home. I also love throwing parties for friends and making dessert for them. Sharing is caring, and there's a special bond when you share food. Plus, making food is a great way to get people to always come to your place so you don't have to leave your house to socialize.
Also, cooking can be quite cheap. You're already eating food anyways, so trying new recipes doesn't necessarily have to cost much more money than you already have. Also, I really like that it adds structure to my day. Anyways, I love making food. It's a huge part of my life. I'm always happy to share recipes so please ask.
Hope this helps!
- Yoga: I do a half hour of yoga every single day, and it is definitely one of the cornerstones for what gives my life meaning. I really like that it constantly gives me something to be working towards. Within the past two weeks, I've been focusing on getting two new poses down (eight angle and flying split), and it's just so satisfying/gratifying to flow into them.
- Cooking: As many of the other writers have said, cooking is so fun. I especially enjoy creating new recipes while listening to podcasts.
- Listening to Podcasts: Oh man, I love listening to podcasts. I listen to one every morning as I get ready for the day as well as whenever I'm cooking/eating or cleaning. It's a great way to learn cool new things, get wrapped up in a story, or gain a sense of community from common interests discussed.
- Maintaining Cleanliness: Now that I live by myself, it's so much easier to keep my apartment nice and clean. I love not ever having dirty dishes in the sink, and living in a space that's thoroughly cleaned at least once a week. Also, slipping between freshly cleaned sheets in freshly cleaned pajamas after a shower is one of the most wonderful sensations.
- Scents: There is almost constantly a candle burning or scentsy warmer going in my apartment. As a result, my apartment constantly smells amazing. I love how it enhances the atmosphere, and allows me to relax.
- Praying: Okay, I know this sounds cheesy, but pouring my heart out to God seriously does give me a sense of meaning, and it's one of my daily habits.
- Walking: Going for walks is the best. I don't do this one really ever in the winter, but for spring, fall, and summer, it gives me time away from everything else.
I like to spend time with the people I love. Right now, that means talking marriage and life plans with Pebble, or taking my younger sisters shopping, or hanging out with my friends and making memories. My relationships are the most important things to me, and I'm finding meaning in studying and working on finding better ways to communicate and improve myself to better my relationships.
I also love to read, to expand my mind. I love academics, and writing papers and reading about topics I care about gives me meaning. Of course, that isn't true for everyone and that's okay.
Like Ardilla and Tipperary, I love cooking food! I love to try new recipes and spend time cutting, kneading, boiling, frying, etc. It's therapeutic, and I get a lot of fulfillment when someone tells me how delicious my project is.
Lastly, I like to plan, plan, plan. I spend a lot of time on Pinterest putting ideas together for my wedding, ideas for other types of weddings, coming up with ideas for my future home, DIY projects for apartment improvements, planning lists of books I want to get for my future kids, tinkering with budgets, practicing tax calculations for optimizing refunds... (gross, someone help I'm broken), and just all sorts of dreaming up ideas about my life in all sorts of directions, and how to get there. I like being prepared and informed, what can I say?
- Spend time with my wife and daughter
- Live the gospel (I know, corny much?)*
- Take pictures with my new DSLR camera
- Play sports
- Work toward goals (i.e. law school, home ownership, etc.)
You're an amazing human being and I'm glad you asked this question!
-Sunday Night Banter
*I am in no way saying that living the gospel is a cure for depression.