Last weekend I had the sublime experience of lounging on beautiful furniture, swathed in a plush bathrobe, sipping chilled cucumber water. I was fully ensconced in what many women (and more men than would care to admit) refer to as heaven on earth: the day spa. Bear with me while I take a moment to breathe deeply and recall the pure bliss of dozing off during a massage, my biggest problem being that the therapist probably wouldn’t let me take a nap on the table once the hour was up.
I don’t often get to enjoy this experience. Once a year is about all my life and budget will allow. Most days I spend preparing toddler meals, entertaining my not quite two-year-old son, tackling housework, then praying for inspiration as to what to make for dinner. During the fall and spring semesters I also wedge in a light teaching schedule, heading to campus two nights a week and planning and grading whenever I can find spare moments. In February our family of three will expand to four, and we will adjust to a new sense of normal yet again.
I often find myself struggling with drudgery, monotony, ennui if you’re fancy. I think back to my days of teaching high school before my son was born and remember that I suffered those same feelings then. And I realize that it isn’t necessarily our current circumstances that weigh us down. I’ve dreamed about having children and being home with them since I held my first baby doll and looked into its permanently smiling, plastic-scented face. Yet that doesn’t prevent me from sometimes being, well, bored with my life. Who among us can’t relate?
So while I sat in the lounge of Lorena Luca Day Spa, I began to think about reality. No, I can’t work in more mani/pedi’s and magically solve my problems. But certainly there’s something that I can do. I came up with two things that can help me, and I think everyone, to cope with the monotony of daily life, whether you’re the CEO of your own company or a stay-at-home parent dabbling in outside work.
First, gratitude. This one is huge. I’ve been through some mess in my life, and when I remember what I’ve conquered and view my life in terms of progress, I can’t help but feel immensely thankful. I try to take a moment every day and remind myself that I’m living my childhood dream. And while that doesn’t guarantee contentment and fulfillment every moment of every day, it’s really cool to realize.
Second, I absolutely need to take more time to enjoy life a little bit more. For me that might mean taking five minutes to have a cup of tea and read on the porch (like an actual book, not my Facebook newsfeed). For you it might mean digging your toes into the sand and forgetting about everything else, just for a moment. Or wrestling with your dog, pinning him down, and laughing in his face just because you can. (I don’t know. My husband really seems to get into that. Whatever floats your boat, man.)
The bottom line is that we’re all busy in our own way. It’s too easy to let day after day slip by without really living any of them. When I look in the mirror in twenty years, I want to remember where every gray hair, every laugh line came from. And then I want to head to the spa for some hair color and a facial.
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