Finding the Good is Not the Same As ‘Being Positive’
How have your ordinary days been lately? You know: your day-to-day days; the days that run into each other because the routine is happening without crisis or miracle. Dental cleanings where you don’t have a cavity; trips to the grocery store where you buy what’s on the list; commutes that are exactly the length you thought they would be. Are those typical for you? Is your regularity regular?
I’m asking because last week, I had a Monday that was peculiar for its normalcy, and I noticed. At the end of the day, I did one of those body checks that’s fashionable in mental health communities lately, because it seemed like I might be happy. And sure enough, all the signs were there: loose muscles, chest levity, general ease. HAPPY! I’m starting to realize that it was all about the noticing. And it was a particular kind of noticing — one that my therapist and I agreed there wasn’t a word for, but there should be.
Here’s what happened on this Monday. I walked my daughter to daycare, and she didn’t have a meltdown when I left. My walk home was uninterrupted and I’d worn the right sweater for the temperature. I saw a brown creeper. (This is a migratory bird, and not a cause for alarm — for either my wellbeing or my unfortunate word choice.) I put on a new dress I’d ordered on sale online, and it turned out I’d chosen the right size, so the dress fit the way I wanted it to fit. I walked to the train station and the train was already there, so I got right on; and it was not too full, so I did some writing. I got to school exactly on time — three minutes before class started. I had all my materials and I didn’t feel rushed. My students were talkative; my lunch was a bagel (!!!); I had a productive meeting and spent a few minutes looking out a vista-facing window. On the commute home, I read the Substack newsletters I find trashiest and most fun. Then I called my sister and she answered. For dinner, we made squash from our garden (!!!). T didn’t cry when she went to bed, and neither did I, and Luke and I got to watch some TV, and that was all.