A lot has happened since the last time I posted to this blog. I adopted a dog, my brother got engaged, my sister had a baby, my parents moved house. As I see the people around me live their lives and move through these milestones of adulthood, I reflect on my own day to day, my own milestones, my own life.
My friend sent me a poem the other day (how lucky I am to have a friend who sends me poetry!) about the feeling of being in neutral. In contrast to euphoric joy or devastating dark days, this neutral state of being feels restful and calm, and much needed. As I read her poem I felt at ease, because this neutral day to day feeling of calm calls to me.
Since adopting Dylan, our Romanian rescue dog, seven months ago, I have found a calmness in my day to day and in the routine he brings into my life. Not to say having a dog is easy all the time, it is absolutely a challenge, but there's an added meaning to each day with this creature that needs me to take care of him. I'm reminded that each day has its own value, even if nothing special or extraordinary happens.
For a long time I watched a lot of videos about productivity on YouTube, and as much as they can be helpful on occasion, they mainly caused a build up of stress and that underlying feeling of not being enough or doing enough. Finding peace in a day that is neither super productive, nor "lazy" (I could write a whole other post about how I don't think laziness exists), has been easier since Dylan came into our lives and I wish I could teach younger me about that feeling. If only I could send her that poem.
It's easy to focus on achieving and producing, on perfection and exceeding expectations, but if a normal day can have value in itself, in those restful moments while the dog is napping and the coffee is brewing, while dinner's in the oven or my phone tells me the Deliveroo rider is on their way, that's where happiness is, I think.
That makes me keen to focus on process rather than result too. As I rewrite my novel and work on a second draft, I try to catch myself in the simpleness of the editing of a sentence or rewrite of a paragraph, enjoying myself. On the days where the result steals focus, I find myself so much more stressed than if I centre my mind on the process itself.
So as my family move through these milestones and day by day goes by, I take a moment to appreciate the dull moments and the simple everyday things. I write a blog post about it and make a cup of tea and watch the dog snooze on a slightly rainy Sunday afternoon. I hope you, reading this, find some peace in your day to day this coming week. I wrote in a song once that "no matter how dull your days turn out to seem always remember that we live for dinnertime stories", but maybe we can live in that dullness too. Let's try it.