It is eight o’clock on a Monday evening, and I am just now finding the opportunity to sit down and relax for a moment. I am a high school English teacher, and today was filled with paperwork deadlines, grading, lesson planning, classroom management, and running all over a huge two-story school building.
I am exhausted. My feet hurt. My eyes are strained. But you know what? It was a really good day.
This morning when I slid on my favorite bracelet and selected the heels that make me feel tall and authoritative instead of my usual pair of flats, I could feel that it was going to be a good one. I made sure to fill my travel mug of coffee to the brim with frothy vanilla creamer before hopping into the car. My 45-minute commute was made sweeter with the newest playlist I downloaded this past weekend, and I didn’t even feel embarrassed when I was still bopping my head to the beat at a stoplight.
Once at school, I began to conquer my long list of things to do, not bothering to feel bad about the fact that I worked through lunch, but instead feeling happy to be getting some important things accomplished.
Driving home, I couldn’t help but to laugh aloud as I watched a young man twirl and dance around with a sign for “Hot and Ready Pizzas, Five Dollars” in front of a Little Caesar’s Pizza restaurant.
When I finally pulled into my garage, it felt so good to know that my dog would be waiting to enthusiastically greet me. I quickly changed and made myself a cup of tea in my favorite mug.
Was today perfect? Absolutely not. There were many moments of stress and exhaustion, but there were many lovely moments too. I find it helpful to look for these bits of joy and try to not focus so much on the unsavory.
When I was a little girl, my mom bought a math book for me to work on my multiplication skills during the summer. Math was never my strong suit, and the thought of practicing such a horrid subject when I was supposed to be taking a break from school sounded like pure torture. However, mom knew how to persuade me. She bought a fancy blend of tea and each day before it was time to work in my math book, she would make us each a cup and would sometimes even set out a cookie. We would sit at the kitchen table, casually sipping from our mugs and practice equations.
This time with my mom felt so special that I came to look forward to doing math each day. She helped me discover something lovely in a situation I would have otherwise despised.
Each day I try to do something lovely for myself, whether it’s having just one more cup of coffee before jumping in the shower or picking a few flowers from the backyard to place in the little vase that rests on my windowsill. There are days when it may seem harder than others to find a sweet moment, but it is always there. It is an elective mindset to choose happiness everyday rather than waiting for it to happen to us.
Being a young, single woman in today’s world is a fierce thing – we are intelligent, hardworking, and self-sufficient. It is important to take a moment each day to reward ourselves for the achievements that have been made and forget about all the other nonsense that is out of our control.
Life is full of lovely moments and we deserve to relish in them.
– image by Carli Jean Miller