Day in the Life
On Wednesday I took a bazillion pictures and wrote a gazillion notes, documenting a regular day in our lives. It sounds cumbersome, but it was fun. You can read more about the day-in-the-life project here.
If you ever think your life is boring, micro document your day. It really helped me realize that some of the things I consider routine are actually kind of unique. Like running over the South Street Bridge. And getting free stuff at work. (We have so many little amenities at my office it’s easy to overlook it after awhile, like free fresh fruit and free random merchandise to promote sustainability…I’ll take it!)
I also let myself get sentimental about some of the commonplace “stuff” in my days. I snapped pictures of all the little sticky notes in my cubicle, for example. On any other day I glance at the quotes and action items and they mean something to me, but they’re not the kind of thing that I intend to remember five years from now. They’re handwritten notes on post-its, which are meant to be thrown away at some point.
I also tried to capture all the books I read to Rachel. The books are stacked upon each other so carelessly these days, and what we read is in some ways a haphazard coincidence of what rose to the top of the pile and how far Rachel felt like reaching. Even so, all of these books have memories, and we love them, and now I’ll remember the ones we were reading over and over this week.
Aside from honoring the routine, I also recorded a few exceptional things, such as the best thing I overheard all day, and the thing I was most proud of myself for accomplishing, the best break in our routine, and a new favorite after dinner treat (steel cut oats with semisweet chocolate chips). They’re all written on a folded sheet of paper that I’ll clip inside my 2012 planner, which I will probably keep for eternity along with my other journals and planners.
I’ll now have a record of my favorite part of the day, a moment that may have otherwise been disregarded as un-extraordinary. In the afternoon Jim and I got to enjoy a car ride by ourselves. I was supposed to go home by myself on the train, but our regular tag team plan changed at the last minute so in a rush Jim picked me up and we rode home together to relieve the babysitter. It was such a treat to get to have grownup time, just the two of us. I got to vent/talk about my day and I could even swear without being a bad influence on Rachel. We laughed so hard. We mocked stupid things like writing “thx” instead of “thanks” in an email. How f-ing lazy! we decided. It was definitely my favorite part of the day.
This project was just what I wanted it to be. A reminder to pay attention and really appreciate each moment. I’m certain that the few negative moments I experienced had less of an impact on my attitude throughout the day because I took the time to notice everything else more attentively. I didn’t let my thoughts revolve around those one or two downer moments, and I didn’t sulk in the mundane. It was a great day, it really was. It was like keeping a gratitude journal, without having to do it every day.
And now, it’s on to the next one.