From a coffee shop in Somerville, I text to a loved one, “Grey and white clouds blowing in a fall breeze, good French roast, and Death Cab on the speakers. Good day so far.”
On Friday afternoon, in the depths of a never-ending rainstorm, I wrote in a more personal journal what a hard day I was having. How easy it was to feel suddenly worthless, just because I’d had one day where getting things done was a trial, where I meant to exercise, write, work in the kitchen, do all kinds of productive things – and yet I couldn’t seem to do more than start dinner in a crockpot and screw around on the Internet.
This morning I got up, ate oatmeal, took care of some finances, and walked 2 miles in about half an hour to meet a friend for coffee. Good conversation, and now, work.
It can be really hard to keep track of the big picture. To know when I’m actually largely doing well, and when I’m in a rough patch. Because each day is so vivid: the moods we find ourselves in can be so strong.
And often the bad ones are stronger than the good ones. The fact I’m writing about this good Monday at all is a good sign. On Friday I wrote about my mood because it was so powerful that I couldn’t do anything else. I’ve mostly gotten out of the habit of whining at the Internet, but from time to time, it still feels necessary. Because it can just be so overwhelming. It is so easy to fall back into old patterns from healthier, newer ones.
Today, I want to appreciate the sun, and the clouds, and the sweater and scarf I’m wearing for the first time this year, and the feeling of getting things done. Today I want to appreciate the friendly old guy on my walk who said “Good morning!” to me, then enthused, “What a day!” I want to appreciate the dude with the mohawk crossing the street outside the window of the coffee shop, and the people with strollers, and the wistful, poignant voice of Ben Gibbard.
I joked to that same loved one on Friday that I read the web comic “a softer world” because I need my heart broken a little every day in order to stay an artist. But I also recognize that I kind of mean it. There are many kinds of heartbreak, and today’s burst of autumnal beauty and energy is as piercing as Friday’s malaise was crippling. Honoring both is what keeps me alive.
How can we better pay attention, to be sure that the good days, the beauty and energy, have as much weight as the bad? How can I be more present? Not always necessarily more happy, but more awake?