I have a problem with this time of the year: Winter is on its way out and Spring is stuck in the birthing canal. There is more sunshine, but no less mud. The days are longer but no less cold. It seems to me that,
«Les jours se suivent et se resemblent,»
– a French proverb that means that the days endlessly follow each other and each day is much the same as the one preceding it. This time of the year it feels as if I am running on the same spot. It is not that I am not getting anything done. Every day I spend time preparing the house for the transformational retreats we will be hosting here in the summer, every day I answer e-mail inquiries about the retreats and every day I work on the coaching program that I want to offer retreat guests after their stay, to support them and help them implement what they have learned while on retreat here.
It is just that the days all follow more or less the same monotonous pattern. I would prefer that
«Les jours se suivent et se ne resemblent pas.»
I wish the days would not all be exactly the same. I wish that spring would explode in the garden, so that I can start planting the potager. I wish that the temperature would rise so that I can once again throw open all the windows of the house and let the sweet, warm breeze blow the cobwebs away. I wish I could pack all my heavy winter clothes away and put my summer clothes back in my wardrobe.
I yearn for variety.
Not much variety in sight, though. I shall have to make an effort to make my days more meaningful myself. To do so, I have made myself a short list of questions to ask myself every morning, starting with:
What am I grateful for today?
This is THE question to start with, because once I have listed 10 or more things that I feel grateful for, I feel much more positive about the day ahead. You will find one of my recent lists HERE. My next question is:
What do I want to accomplish today?
I write down what I want to get done this day. I make a list. I keep it short and to the point and I make sure the tasks on my list can be accomplished in one day. I don’t want to get depressed by not being able to get everything done on my list. I want to get to the end of the day, cross off the items on my list and feel good about what I have accomplished. I write my lists in a little notebook because it cheers me up to look back over the weeks and see what I have managed to get done. It I really can’t get something done on my list, I break it up into smaller steps and spread them out over the next few days. I don’t beat myself up about it. My next question usually is,
What can I learn today?
Apparently, the brain is like a muscle – if you don’t use it, you will loose it. This is especially important as we get older. Even if it is just one new word every day, in a year’s time, that means your vocabulary has increased with 365 new words. English is not my first language, so I subscribe to a website that sends me one new word to learn each day. Some days I already know the word, other days I have never heard/read it before and some days I have always wondered exactly what a word means. Another question I ask myself is:
What random acts of kindness can I commit today?
There are loads of possibilities, certainly enough so that I can do something different every day. I could make my husband a cup of coffee mid-morning, I could send an encouraging text/e-mail to a friend, I could drop off the books we have finished reading at the book exchange, I could give clothes we no longer wear to a charity shop, I could compliment a stranger or relay an overheard compliment… Doing something unexpected for someone else gives my day meaning. Which brings me to the next question:
What can I celebrate today?
Celebrating big victories makes sense, but celebrating small victories, even if it just means sitting down for a few minutes with a well-deserved cup of tea, is also important.
Clearly, it is up to me to make sure my days are all different, by changing the answers to the questions I ask myself every day.
Midlife can bring a fair amount of new challenges, but facing the same sort of challenge every day can also eventually become monotonous. Having arrived at midlife, I find asking myself these questions every day not only makes every day somewhat different, it gives me a feeling of having a say in what happens to me every day.
Every man can transform the world from one of monotony and drabness to one of excitement and adventure. Irving Wallace