Sometimes It’s Good Enough
Sometimes I wake up in the morning feeling….off. Not terrible. But not good either. Definitely not good enough to feel positive about the trajectory of the day. It’s usually a Monday, but not always. It’s almost always a work day. To be fair, it’s not always a work day. But when your work day means talking to a lot of people when you are introverted and tapping on a keyboard when you’d rather be hiking…yeah. It’s almost always a work day.
Today my internal dialogue went something like this: “How can it possibly be time to spend another large chunk of a day sitting in front of the computer, making phone calls and asking questions? And how could the forecast call for above average temperatures – again – in December? Why can I still hear water running in the seasonal stream?” For someone who enjoys activities that require snow and ice, above average temperatures are not cause for celebration.
As I was resigning myself to a day spent tapping a keyboard, I saw some sunshine through the window and noticed the perfect reflection of the skeleton trees in the puddles along the lake’s semi frozen shoreline. But the potentially rising temperature and the schedule of my afternoon overshadowed the beauty that I usually see in those simple things. I felt myself sinking into a haze of wanting something different. I felt like someone who is unsatisfied with daily life and someone who dreads the work week.
So I went outside. Instead of letting myself simmer in that haze of wanting, I convinced my three-year old that we needed to check on the state of the snowman we’d made a week before. (aka, the last tiny lump of snow in the yard) I know enough about health and wellness to understand that getting some fresh air and movement can boost one’s mood – and enough about motivation to know that you don’t have to feel motivated to do something. Sometimes you just have to do it. So we stepped into our boots, put on our light jackets and headed out the front door.
The sunlight felt warm on my skin, but the air still held a crisp chill. Eva trotted happily toward the snowman-that-was and appeared content to stand on and/or poke what was left of him. Walking away from the house and up the gradual incline stretched my legs, and taking a deep breath of fresh air felt good. I stopped at the woodpile, looked up and realized that all of these warmer days meant we have plenty of wood to get through the winter. I noticed the sound of running water in the ravine below and how beautiful the sound is even when it isn’t wanted. We wandered out into the field and into the woods behind the house, stopping periodically to examine the different shades of brown grasses and the pinecones on the trees we planted a few years ago at the edge of the gardens. It wasn’t skiing or sledding or hiking a mountain pass. But it was good enough for a Tuesday morning in a December with no snow.
It was good enough to snap me out of my melancholy stupor and remind me of all the things that are worth celebrating during the days that I spend here on this earth, despite work computers, endless phone calls and a climate that is no longer what I expect. There will surely be days in the future when I feel off-balance, in want of something different or saddened by the loss and destruction that seems more prevalent than ever. But there will also surely be little things – like the simple contentments of a child and the music of moving water and breathing in wild air – that punctuate even the dreariest of days with one more little detail that makes life worth celebrating.
It’s nice to remember that I don’t have to let waking up on the wrong side of the bed, the news media and a task list that I’m not looking forward to color my whole day black. And it’s nice to notice the beauty that pierces the ordinary days just because of making one little choice – to go outside instead of staying in.
I don’t always want to settle for just good enough. But I do want to remember that being ok with good enough is part of what makes a life worth living.