The True Power of Enya and Other Random Things that Make Me Feel Giddily Alive

I always have these mood brighteners in my toolbox

Flannery Maney
Feb 13 · 5 min read
Photo by Vlada Karpovich from Pexels

We were driving around the busy Torino streets running errands. The city was built on a Roman grid, making the driving vastly confusing, as one must jump between the streets and the small side streets in order to turn.

Just then someone LAID ON THEIR HORN right behind us. What the hell, man? I yelled as boyfriend exploded into a string of Italian expletives.

There was a distinct moment of stressful silence after we turned safely onto the next street. Boyfriend stewed. Then I heard it on the radio…

Sail away, sail away, sail away. From Bissau to Palau, in the shade of Avalon…

It was Enya’s Orinco Flow — a magical unicorn of a song that somehow makes you want to spin around in a flowing dress and go cliff diving at the same time. Its “extra” energy reminds me of my mom’s absurd dancing and impromptu musical theatre performances.

A distinctly remember this song in movement class in theatre school. We’d writhe on the sweaty RADA studio floor, lyrically moving to Enya, trying to embody the flavor of the song. I’m sure we looked like one hot mess of a group, but it was also emotional, heated, and driven…

So whether it’s a moment of road rage, or the endless days I fantasize about the moment I get to return to Los Angeles (trying to be present in the Italian “now”…) I made a list of my favorite mood boosters to draw from.

God knows we all need a boost right now…

  1. Blast “You Make My Dreams” by Hall & Oates — best played in the morning, espresso in hand, still pajama’d. This song reminds me of the scene from 500 Days of Summer when Joseph Gordon-Levitt walks down the street with a full marching band because he got laid the night before. It embodies carefree joy, celebration, and classic cinema in my eyes!
  2. Stream DIY home decor videos — there was once a time I promised not to obsess over home decor, “because I’m a serious writer”. What I’ve since found? I can be both things — a writer, and someone who is really into design. I’ve embraced this obsession, but promised myself I’ll only watch a few videos per day. Check out this one if you need some art therapy!
  3. Make insanely cool bullet journals — I love setting actionable goals, but I really love when I get an excuse for a random art project. My friend Andie makes really cool designs on YouTube. If you want to visualize your future in bright colors, check out her videos!
  4. Listen to sad music like, “I Should Live In Salt” by the National — I think this song is gorgeous and haunting and let’s face it, we all want that dude who dumped us to admit that he should live in salt for leaving us…
  5. Attend a dance party workout with Ryan Heffington — Ryan live streams dance workouts on IG and when I did one, I couldn’t stop smiling and laughing. There’s nothing like pairing some sweaty workout cardio with some carefree dance — no matter how awkwardly you move — it’s all from the privacy of your own home!
  6. Walk while listening to an audiobook — I recently discovered Libby, which is a library app. Since we can’t go in person right now, just enter your library card and borrow books and audio books straight from your device! I’ve been listening to Educated by Tara Westover and I am LOVING IT. It’s great to get a ton more steps in while I’m reading!
  7. Stay in my pajamas and declare a movie day — I’ve been watching plays with a subscription to the National Theatre at home, and I have been completely re-inspired to read and write plays! I really loved Julie and Yerma so far. Whether I’m enjoying plays, re-watching classic movies from my childhood, or catching a film I’ve never seen (next on my list is Seven!), I love curling up on our couch and watching a movie in the middle of the day when I’m awake enough not to fall asleep during. If I feel like being productive, I often fold clothes, do dishes, and workout during movies!
  8. Play games over zoom — The other day my mom called me and said, most precipitous, 8 down. Before I could figure out what was going on, she shouted into my ear, oh! steepest! She’d called me to do a crossword puzzle. My family also gets together to play Yahtzee, each individually rolling the dice with our Yahtzee sets and declaring whatever we rolled. It’s not perfect, but it does the trick. Get some friends and family together and have a rousing game for yourself!
  9. Make-out — When my boyfriend and I broke up temporarily last year, I really regretted that I hadn’t kissed him more. Now that we live together in Italy, I make sure to kiss him often. Sometimes I request a simple make-out session, over other more adventurous activities ;). Like snuggling, it makes me feel close to him. Plus, as adults, we rarely have the chance in the day just to close our eyes and have fun. I find it to be an instant mood boost!
  10. Play that video game from your childhood — When I was a kid, I was obsessed with Nancy Drew video games. They’re slow, repetitive and take forever, but I truly loved them. During the pandemic, I decided to buy a couple of them on Amazon. The verdict? They’re still slow, repetitive and take forever, but they’re still really fun. I play it maybe once a month just for some stress relief. It’ll be years before I solve the mystery at this rate, but it doesn’t matter! It’s just another way to relax and be silly!
  11. Learn about skincare — I love the YouTuber Hyram, particularly when he breaks down products or watches skincare regimens and provides feedback. I think it’s amazing when an actual professional corrects the flawed behavior of some of society’s most glam. We all can’t be experts on everything, but we can learn from YouTube!
  12. Put on the Orinco Flow — and sing along, laugh, bask in its dual extra-ness and seriousness. When you sing along and dance like a staunch lyrical dancer you will burst out laughing.

Every day (I know it’s hard) is best spent holding onto the little things and appreciating them. Every day that passes is precious. I hope these ideas reminded you of all the reasons you have to celebrate!

Honest Creative

Stories from people who create meaningful content.

Flannery Maney

Written by

History/Life/Travel. Featured on The Ascent & Curious. From Ohio, but currently call LA, London, & Italy home. Love histories, crime dramas, and kids animation!

Honest Creative

Voices of people who create for a living.

Flannery Maney

Written by

History/Life/Travel. Featured on The Ascent & Curious. From Ohio, but currently call LA, London, & Italy home. Love histories, crime dramas, and kids animation!

Honest Creative

Voices of people who create for a living.

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