I get ridiculously excited about shampoo. To be fair, shampoo and conditioner. To be more fair any new kind of product that I get to pick out and use. Hair care, skin care, cleaning, kitchen gadget. I get so incredibly excited. Close to, if not at times surpassing Christmas level excitement. I plan the time of purchase, I research and think about the pros and cons of the brand and product, I comparison shop, I day dream about what it will be like to finally have that new shampoo. I may be certifiable, but if so, I’ll take it. Because I experience true joy in these small mundane everyday experience.
My mom says I have always been this way. That even as a child I would plan and day dream about next month when I get to go to Walmart and buy new shampoo. I would debate the scents of Aussie verses Suave. I would talk about what life would be like when I finally washed my hair and got the full Suave experience. Or my favorite day dream, would salon selective finally have the number 30 conditioner I knew my hair needed…every one must need it, it is always out of stock. Mind you this was way before amazon and everything you need being a click and 3 day shipping away. If my conditioner wasn’t in Zebulon, I was out of luck, Knightdale (30 mins away at the time) was too far to go for shampoo, and Raleigh was out of the question. Not to mention the fancy store markup.
Celebrating life is important. Celebrate the small stuff. Life is in the in between moments. Not all life is a mountain top experience but that’s okay. Without the failures and disappointments of everyday life, the small joys would be overlooked because they would not amount to the mountain top. Learning to see everyday as an opportunity to celebrate your life is where the good stories happen.
I have been reading this book about Haines, Alaska called If you lived here I would know your name. The author talks about how you spend your days being how you spend your life. That can be difficult to grasp when you have one idea of the kind of life you are living, or the kind of person you are, and then have to admit that your days do not reflect that truth. The minutia of the daily, the in between moments make up 90% of our days – 10% are reserved for vacations, concerts, fancy parties, mission trips… Those mountain top experiences matter, they charge us, shape us, but they are not our lives. The days spent home with sick kids, the day the hot water heater breaks and floods the garage, forgetting your wallet at the checkout, the grocery store trips, coffee dates, the weekly staff meeting…these are our days. And these moments make our life.
Focusing on each day with fresh gratitude and love is the only way I can make sense of my daily toils being the sum of my life. I have a very clear image of my most perfect life. It includes 9 hours of sleep every night, lots of yoga, painting, hiking, laughter with kids, no arguments ever, family gatherings, awesome meals (gluten free and dairy free, of course), best friends that live next door, two dogs and a Prius – This is not my life. I love my life and I have managed to incorporate some of these things (come on, I have two kids kindergarten and under, no one in this house sleeps 9 hours a night), but others that were in my plan have not been, thus far, in God’s plan. I live in Ketchikan, Alaska. I love it here, but my family and best friend live in North Carolina. I live in Alaska. Good luck finding anything gluten free and dairy free that you don’t make from scratch over the course of an entire day unless it’s salmon or halibut.
So my life does not always look the way I want, or the way I planned. That is okay. The point is that the daily is a challenge. Whether it’s sick kids, broken furnaces, homesickness, sleep deprivation, or a serious hankering for a muffin (I would pay so much money for a pre-made baked good that wouldn’t end me), the daily is where we shine, redeem ourselves, grow, learn, and love. So with that in mind, I try to be grateful for every new day and greet it and those in it with love. So that even if my life does not look the way I planned, the way I spend my days, is the way I spend my life.
There is a story, always ahead of you. Barely existing. Only gradually do you attach yourself to it and feed it. You discover the carapace that will contain and test your character. You find in this way the path of your life. ~ Michael Ondaatje, The Cat’s Table