Saturday, July 9, 2016

The Box of Frivolity

I've been struggling with a topic for this week's post. Originally, I had planned to write about another UT Book recipe but the DMV has been dropped into the middle of a heat wave. The idea of turning the oven on in my apartment makes me sweat so I'll have to save that one for when we have a break in the heat. It's also been a hell of a week (which is the understatement of the world I know) which may have added some additional stress/pressure/whatever to the idea of what to write about today. I could take a week off but don't want to. I could post a new chapter from my novel but I don't think it's ready yet.

Then it hit me - The Box of Frivolity.

Never heard of the Box of Frivolity? That's perfectly fine because it's something I made up a few weeks ago. I have friend who was in grad school this year working on her Master's in positive psychology. The program was intense; a hybrid online/in person program completed in one year while she still worked full time. Thankfully for my friend, she's passionate about the program and her area of study so while it's been a lot of work and a lot of stress, she's at least studying something she wants to study and write about. She technically graduated in May but her thesis is due in August so she went from class and reading and short papers and projects to reading and reading and researching and writing and writing. Back in May, I asked her what book she was going to read once she finished her thesis and could resume reading books that weren't related to school. She couldn't answer. I told her she needed to find some frivolous things to read and do after finishing her thesis. She needed to give her mind and body time to deal with the fact that she wasn't going nonstop on school and work anymore. She needed to take a little break, even if it meant just an hour or two of reading a cheesy novel or watching a terrible movie.

That's how the Box of Frivolity was born. Another friend and I were discussing graduation/completing your thesis gifts and I suggested after several other ideas that we should put together a box of stuff for her that would allow her to be frivolous in small doses. So we went about amassing a box of different things that we felt fell on the frivolous scale: bubbles, a light up jump rope (which is only funny to the three of us), Batman stickers, chocolate, spa masks, and two ridiculous books that we knew she would never pick for herself but that we felt fit perfectly in the frivolous book category. Yes, I bought her the tie-in book for the new Ghostbusters movie. The other one was a dystopian YA novel of some kind (as they all are) but I can't remember the title. We also threw in some googly-eye rings and monster finger puppets. Viola - a Box of Frivolity.

I would argue that the Box of Frivolity is something we should all do every now and then to help in times of stress, sadness, disenchantment with the world, or general hopelessness. You can make one for yourself and stash it somewhere around your house, at the ready for a day when you need something silly and fun to brighten your life. Or maybe focus on others; make a Box of Frivolity for your friend who's going through something or just needs a little pick me up after a long day or week or life. Yes, you could just open up a bottle of wine with that same friend but sometimes wine makes it worse. The idea of a Box of Frivolity is really about fun and playfulness. Wine does not always accomplish that.

We need to take care of selves no matter what the circumstance. Slowing down, eating better, getting more sleep, exercising, reading a frivolous book, all of these things can help. Taking care of yourself isn't selfish; it's what you should do. I started this blog at a time in my life where I was alone; I moved to California and didn't know anyone and it was isolating at the beginning. I spent a lot of time in my first few months in my new home being stressed and angry for making what I thought was a stupid decision. When I started writing the blog, I realized it was not a stupid decision; it was the exact right decision for me at the time BUT I needed to focus on me and doing the right things for me. So I started writing. I joined a theatre group. I started walking three miles a day. I baked more (mostly for my co-workers) and I tried to eat better and cook more at home. This blog was my first Box of Frivolity; I can write about cheesy movies or from my cat's perspective because it's funny and makes me laugh. It's gets me outside of whatever is stressing me out and sometimes, it does the same for other people.

Make yourself a Box of Frivolity this weekend. I'll give you a tip: it doesn't have to be an actual box. As I said, the Island is my Box of Frivolity so yours could be a place or a person you spend time with. It can be whatever you want it to be. Or be like Pumpkin and just enjoy the actual box. Cats know best.

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