Pleasure Report: Day One / by Richelle Ouellette

Today was the first day of my pleasure project.

As soon as I unset my alarm last wave of relief like the AC vents at HEB on a sticky August day in Austin. My anxiety around the entire next day momentarily melted away.

And the world did not end.

Sure, I didn't wake up at my usual 5:00am call time, but I woke up feeling relaxed and ready to start the day, not dreading it. Even rolling out of bed at 6:30am I still had time to meditate and read a book before heading to my favorite coffee shop to read a book, then bumping into a lovely friend and catching up with her before even opening my inbox.

As I sipped my almond milk latte (on the approved pleasure list!) I thumbed through quickly, answering the messages that deserved a response after quivering in my inbox over a three (and a half) day weekend. Then I closed the Gmail tab and did work.

Actual, interesting work. I listened to my favorite 'brain food' playlist, which helped me focus, and made me feel relaxed.

At 11am, by the time I was starting to get hungry (I've been testing out intermittent fasting), I left the coffee shop and headed to Frond to purchase plants. I have wanted plants for my apartment since the day I moved in 15 months ago. I have not bought plants because a) they are kind of expensive, and b) historically I have not been so great with plant care, therefore exaggerating the issue with the former point.

But I walked in, made friendly conversation with the lovely sales girls, asked her some questions about plant care to educate myself, asked for her advice, and bought two beautiful plant babies in gorgeous containers. I did not look at the price tags, because I didn't want to feel the fucking guilt over spending "more than I should" on plants.

Plants are life. They literally KEEP US ALIVE. So. To try to rationalize not spending money on an actual, living, breathing thing that keeps me doing both those actions is completely preposterous.

I spent $191 (which is more than I've paid for my last three international flights), and walked home THRILLED with my new lively addition to my tiny apartment.

Now I get to keep them alive.

I made lunch, then after a short break to flip through a luxury real estate magazine that was lying on my desk (goals, and also perspective), I left for afternoon co-working with another friend, Kara.

I met my "engage meaningfully with someone you love" quota before the end of business day. We chatted about similar things that are bringing us anxiety, and I realized it's an epidemic, not just me. Then dove into afternoon tasks that I hadn't necessarily been looking forward to, but didn't mind getting done.

I wrapped in time to meet two friends of mine at Melody Dancefit's first Beyonce Night. Dancing and working out are both high on the pleasure list, plus I got to enjoy it with friends, and laughed a ton (mostly at myself), hitting at least 5 checklist items & all the pleasure sensors in my brain.

My night ended with an incredible conversation with a man I've been talking to, seeing, dating (what's the term?) for a while now. We always have deeper conversations, but this one was the most intimate we've shared, and I felt myself opening up significantly more about my personal self than I have been in the past. It's possible I'm making this up, but I'm pretty sure I've read studies that happier people are more deeply connected to others. Coincidence? I think not.

I found the energy to write this out before going to bed.

And I also purchased the smiley face stickers elementary school teachers use for my pleasure chore chart, which is not a chore because everything on it feels amazing.