The Opposite of Special

We are, despite all expectations to the contrary and efforts to halt the flow of time, halfway through November. I know I said November can be a break, but the past few weeks haven’t always felt like one. It’s not that I’ve necessarily had more work, but the pressure of being so close to the end of the semester is rising and, to be honest, blogging every day takes more time and mental energy than I had expected. It hasn’t been an unusually difficult or busy month so far, but it has been a tiring one.

So today, I took a break—or at least, something that felt like one. I still did some homework, but I sandwiched it in between a trip to the farmer’s market and an evening spent making risotto and, later, carrot cake. My plans to catch up on Downton Abbey and waste time online were dashed by my shoddy internet connection, so instead I spent an hour catching up on Welcome to Night Vale and knitting for the first time in almost a year.

And as I sat there, belly full of cake and apple cider, my needles clicking and Cecil’s smooth voice in the background, I realized that I felt truly peaceful. It’s one of those feelings you don’t realize you’ve been missing until it suddenly reappears. This sort of inner stillness, of being perfectly content with the world at that particular moment.

Peace.

Today was, in part, a conscious decision to do enjoyable things in celebration of my almost-birthday, but there’s no reason it needed to be. The different elements of the day—a walk to the market, an enjoyable meal, a little less screen time, a podcast and a ball of yarn—weren’t particularly special. In fact, they’re almost the opposite of special, little things that seem so absolutely ordinary that they couldn’t possibly be meaningful. It turns out that those little things were so ordinary that when they dropped out of my life, I didn’t realize how important they were.

Maybe that’s my goal for the month I have before I head home for Christmas: to find those moments of peace more often. Call it a mid-November resolution, if you will, or if that seems too aggressive, just call it a necessary reminder.

I know the business will pop up again soon—it always does—but that doesn’t mean I shouldn’t take solace in the little moments that happen in between.

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