Sometimes, my favorite part of the day is at the end of it. On the drive home.

When the clock strikes five on a typical weekday I unzip my pants, swap out my flats for sneakers, and lace them up tightly to send my feet the memo – work is done, now let’s go sweat.

Sometimes its a long, detoxing run or a bit of yoga at the gym.  Today it was a bit of both.

The sun has already set as I hop into my car for the drive home. I’m high with endorphins as they absorb every anxiety- ridden cell in my body. I drive into the suppertime sky, dark but still faintly aglow from the remnants of afternoon sun. I feel a tiny bead of sweat slide down my cheek. I maintain the moment. I make love to it as it focuses my energy inward. I hear my heart beat. I pay attention to me. The girl I so often neglect.

It rained today. When it rains I feel a heightened sense of excitement and disruption everywhere. I like it. I’m a Florida girl, after all.

As a kid, I played in the pools of rain in the ditch of our front yard for fun. As an introspective college girl, I spent many nights nestled by my bedside window in my dorm with my textbooks, listening to the song of a rainstorm as it lulled me into the wee hours of morning. The rain felt more like a good friend. We experienced life together. Its seen my tears, soaked through my clothes, and come at the perfect time at the end of a hard day to wash it all away.

Some people dread rain. I lust after it.

This week has been hard. Dave and I’s Valentines Date was lovely though. In case you wondered what we did, it involved a drive to Long Beach with a mix CD I made for Dave (a nerdy thing I’ll never quit doing) with songs by Bon Iver and The Flaming Lips. We ate dinner at a hip Thai restaurant. I had two cocktails before the food came. It was the best pad Thai tofu I’ve ever eaten. Thank you, cocktails.

Fro yo was mandatory afterward. Red velvet cake batter fro yo with Oreo crumbles and cookie dough bites dusted gluttonously generously with graham crackers crumbs over the top. It was sexual. As ice cream should be.

We spent the rest of our date at a secluded cove in Laguna Beach. We laid on a blanket and stared off into the ocean, and gazed at the lights from the mansions twinkling bright in the distant hills. We talked about childhood memories, alien abduction theories, and potato chips.

It was a lovely Valentines date.

But besides that, this week has been rough. I consistently feel like I have no time to do the things that I love and crave at the end of the day. Like writing. And reading. And talking to my best girl friends in Florida.

Tonight though, as I drove home in my gym shorts listening to Animal Collective, I told myself  “tonight I will do the things that I love.” No laundry, no e-mails, no errands.

So I came home and paid respects to my Italian ancestors up in heaven by making Creamy Polenta with spinach and cream sauce.

It was perfect. The kind of meal that feeds your belly and your soul.

Then I baked.

Nothing fancy. Just chocolate chip cookies.

When all else fails and you’ve started to question everything about your life and you need to pluck your eyebrows but can’t find the tweezers…just make chocolate chip cookies. Don’t stop to ask questions. Just get out the eggs and flour and go with it.

Then I wrote.

I wrote and wrote until I was positively drugged by the pleasure.

Those are some of the things that I love. Even more, after a hard day.

Perhaps it will be the same tomorrow. I’ll hope in the car to come home after the sun has set and I’ll turn on a familiar song.

“You have every day for the rest of your life to do what you love,” I’ll tell myself.

It starts now. It ends when Jesus takes me home but I’m not concerned about that. That’s heaven’s business.

Every day deserves to be marked by the things that make us most happy. Maybe it’s puppy dogs and books.

Or Sex and the City reruns and burritos.

Maybe its prayer and meditation.

Or maybe it’s the drive home at the end of a long day.

Whatever it may be, live within it and celebrate it.

Now I’m off to go listen to the rain.