Do you ever have a day where you feel like flinging all of your responsibilities across the room? Where you bristle at even the most lightweight of tasks, like emptying the dishwasher, or taking your pooch out for a walk at her appointed time, or switching the laundry? Most of the time, these insubstantial duties are so engrained in the rhythm of my life that I scarcely think about them. It is in fact highly common for me to forget which child I put to sleep the night prior (Mr. Magpie and I trade off) or whether Tilly has already relieved herself on her walk or if I switched on the dishwasher, and I must strain to retrace my steps, as I can hardly recall the details. It’s as if I glide through the day in a groove, automatically flipping on the dishwasher and switching off the lights at certain appointed times, all muscle memory. In other words, those tasks are so routine as to feel effortless, or if not effortless, reflexive.
So I am often mystified but the materialization of these “off” days in the middle of an otherwise nondescript week. “You’ve done this every night for the last two years — why is today any different?” I will ponder.
These days are always, however, canaries in the coal mine. It is as if my mind, heavy with the weight of other things, can no longer hang onto the marionette strings that keep my little world in motion, and suddenly lines run slack, then taut, in a jarring and bizarre dance.
On these days, I have learned to tend to myself with particular care. It is not possible to totally clear the deck and, say, lay down in bed with a good book or head out for a two-hour walk or go to bed at 7 p.m. I have children who need bathing and bedtime routines, and a dog who needs to be walked, and a business to tend to, and a dishwasher that still needs to run tonight in order for there to be enough clean milk cups for the children tomorrow. Instead, I make tiny little clearings in my schedule. I move small tasks on my to do list from today to tomorrow. I close up my work day an extra 10 minutes early to just sit with myself. I listen to music, or nothing at all, while walking Tilly, rather than using that time to call loved ones, a corner of my day I normally cherish but that sometimes needs to be elided from the schedule. Sometimes it feels good to just let time spool out, empty and inviting. To not over-clutter, or over-optimize, or multi-task. On these days, I need a few pockets of daylight to let the time tick past me, unmarked and unclaimed. I wonder on occasion if this is An Introvert Thing, as if these days appear when I am too drained by others. But I think it might just be A Human Thing, to counterbalance the strain of bigger frustrations or anxieties by standing still, feet planted, hands empty. It’s as if I am squaring off.
And then the next day, I wake up, and I lunge into the day with my usual verve, and the world feels righted again.
Just to say —
That off days will happen, and there is always tomorrow, and in the meantime, in can do the soul good to let a few minutes pass you by, empty of demand.
+Another big wellness lesson from COVID living: creating a formal buffer between the end of the work day and the start of the evening hours.
+”I felt as though I was waiting for life to happen to me for much of my teens and early twenties — angling for even the slightest brush with drama, or good fortune, or fiasco…I can’t remember when I stopped thinking that way. Was it a moment? An incident? One of the many losses or challenges or even beautiful happenings of the past many years? Or was it a gradual slackening, a loosening of my grip on the notion that life had not yet begun for me?” More of this thinking here.
+Love the idea of this jumpsuit for poolside/beach lounging or just running after the kids in the backyard.
+Y’all loved these mules!
+Speaking of cute shoes — the best sneakers to wear with dresses.
+I mentioned discovering these personalized heishi bracelets too late to order them for mini’s classmates on their last day of school, but we made our own using this kit (which arrives the next day!) It was a fun afternoon activity for us both.
+Love that Ganni brought this dress back this season. So fun.
+Cute initial hat for a little one for under $15.
+This dress just brings the party.
+More fun pool/backyard finds here.
+These would be such a great pool / beach sandal — they are a jelly material but so sleek and non-clunky!
+A random thing to get excited about but I actually discovered this spinning mop/bucket system while watching a house cleaning tip video on TikTok. Haha! I am such a luddite. I just joined TikTok the other day and am just getting the hang of it. Only a 37 year old woman would be looking for housekeeping tips there…