Today was a good day. I don’t say that lightly, because it feels like it’s been a while since I could sit down at the end of a day, look back on it with a sigh of satisfaction, and think to myself, “Yep. That was a good day.”
For the past several months (and especially in recent weeks), I feel like I’ve had more than my share of crummy days. Maybe it’s too harsh to call them crummy. But, you know, days that are just … lacking, somehow. Maybe in ways I can’t even articulate. Days that don’t feel complete or comfortable, like wearing a too-tight pair of shoes. I have a lot of days where I feel like life swooshes by me at light speed. I live in an extremely urban area, which means I’m surrounded by a lot of people who can be obnoxious at the best of times. I feel like I don’t have time to sit down and think or breathe, and everything pushes in on me all the time. There is too much to do and not enough time in which to do it. It gives me a fluttery feeling in the pit of my stomach and a feeling of dread in my heart. I don’t know how else to explain the jumble of emotions that have surrounded my life lately. The best thing I can think of is Too Much. Sometimes, life is just Too Much. Lately, that hasn’t been a “sometimes” thing. It’s been an “all the time” thing.
Not so today. Because today was a good day. Nothing special happened. Really, nothing happened at all. It was a beautifully ordinary day. My daughter has been off from school for the past two days: Monday for a teacher workday, and today because it’s election day, and her school is a polling place. Unless you’ve been living under a rock next to a cactus behind a yucca plant in the middle of a desert, you have probably realized how terrible and contentious the current U.S. election is. And I live right in Washington DC’s back yard, so it’s about a gazillion times worse. It’s been like this for MONTHS. Yesterday, we stayed around the house because my daughter injured her foot in an accident at school. I wanted to give her a chance to rest it a bit. My phone rang non-stop yesterday. And none of the calls were for me. Or even actual, live people. It was a constant barrage of robo political calls. Today, we decided the constant calls were too annoying and stressful, so we left the house.
We went to a local botanical garden. The weather was beautiful: warm enough that we didn’t need jackets, but with a tiny bit of crispness in the breeze. All of the trees around here are turning colors. I felt mesmerized by the array of gold and yellow and red. We spent a couple of hours wandering around the gardens, looking at the giant koi in one of the ponds, looking for birds, and watching the antics of the local geese and turtles. We explored a hidden pathway and looked for fish in the park’s wetlands area. We played Pokemon Go. We laughed and told silly stories and just enjoyed being together. We felt the sun on our faces and the breeze on our skin.
And it was perfect. A good day. I wish I could take this day and save it, like a precious photograph, in a corner of my mind. In fact, maybe I will do just that. And I will pull it out tomorrow or the next day or next week, when I’m struggling. And I will feel a little bit of peace come back into my heart at the memory of a beautifully ordinary, good day.