Some days are good for obvious reasons: you’re on vacation, or eating at a Michelin-starred restaurant, or celebrating a promotion.
Others are more quietly good. You make space for things you enjoy, and experience a minimum of unpleasantness. Life is lived in hours, and the day’s hours are pretty decent.
Monday fell in the latter category. There were many not-perfect parts of the day. I went to bed at 11:15 Sunday, and got up with the baby at 6. I was up twice in the night, once with the baby and once to move to the downstairs couch as the upstairs was still way too stuffy (due to the broken AC). I tried to doze on the couch while feeding the baby, and we stayed there until 6:45, but it wasn’t real sleep.
Another not-perfect part: We were getting our air conditioner installed, so there were workmen in and out all day. This was mildly stressful as Nightline was here, filming the sit-down interview with me and their correspondent.
Dinner wasn’t great. I’d taken pork chops out of the freezer, but hadn’t figured out anything interesting to do with them. My kids actually refused to eat the chicken tenders I made them so they wouldn’t have to eat the pork. That was probably a low point.
But much of the rest of the day worked pretty well. The baby and I sat on the porch for a while in the morning as I drank my coffee, enjoying the cool start to a summer day. I had a very productive day of work, not only taping the interview (which I thought went pretty well — we’ll see how it comes out!) but turning in various pitches and articles and finding sources for new ones. I took a quick lunch break, and a break to nurse the baby mid-afternoon, but I was mostly focused during the rest of the time, until I went for a trail run at 5 p.m.
This was a great time for it. The heat had broken a bit, and my brain was fried, so I wanted the mental space. I grabbed my water and went for an hour-long run through the woods around here, listening to the insects and hopping over roots and jumping between rocks to cross a stream.
I returned to quickly answer a few emails. My husband was home, so we sat down for family dinner (even if no one ate it). Then we all went in the pool. We weren’t sure about buying a house with a pool when we did it, but it has proven to be a wonderful thing in summer. It gives us something fun and active to do with the kids in the evening at a time when it’s easy to not do something fun. I would probably not load four kids in the car and drive to the pool very often, but when it’s just in the backyard, it’s easy. We swam until 8, then I put the baby to bed and we got the big kids upstairs. I worked from 9 to 10, then read The Economist until 10:45, at which point I went to sleep in my now cool, air conditioned room.
It was a nice mix of all three major categories: work (Nightline et al); relationships (family dinner, pool, etc.) and self (the trail run). I stayed off the phone in the evening, which no doubt helped matters too. It wasn’t an earth shattering day, but it was a pretty good one nonetheless.
What would a good day look like for you?
In other news: I track my time in 30-minute increments, but I just created a spreadsheet to do so in 15-minute increments for those who enjoy that sort of thing. I’ll post when it’s ready — you’ll be able to get it by signing up for my newsletter.
Photo: Butterfly bush, with butterfly