It’s Monday night. Normally, at this point, I am exhausted and want to be in my pajamas. I stay up “late” on Sunday nights so I can watch The Walking Dead. But tonight is writers’ group night which means that I’m at Starbucks on a Monday night, waiting for the rest of the group to arrive.
It’s cold today, and it’s raining. My head aches either because I’m not wearing my glasses or from allergies or barometric pressure or maybe a combination of all three issues. Maybe I’m getting sick. But tonight, the cold is not aggravating or exacerbating. Instead, it serves as a perfect countermeasure to the warmth of the tea I just bought and the warmth of my black fleece jacket which I have currently wrapped around myself.
This is when I feel contentment. When I have written out 2500 words into my newest novel and good music is quietly playing over the sound of the coffee grinder and I might have grading to do but it’s grading that can wait because it’s non-essential. I need to read annotations and search 105 papers for the use of the word “squirrel” because I challenged my students to use the word “squirrel” randomly in their annotations. It’s a literary scavenger hunt and it makes my students feel validated for doing work that they would otherwise be likely to fake. But because their teacher is reading the annotations, it gives them the impetus to do real work as opposed to fake-annotations.
Because of the time change, darkness falls earlier and earlier and I am content with moving into my zone of warm contentment, a zone that is created by the sense that I have done something worthwhile today. I might not have done anything remarkable. Making sure that my family has a relatively fresh dinner that is not overly processed is an achievement for me. And given that I haven’t been running in the last couple of weeks, I have gained weight and could barely squeeze out a mile today.
But, even that, has enabled me to find my contentment.
I have lovely students this year. Sure, I might have a couple who act egotistical or think themselves better than me. But, I have incredible people who populate my days, students whose faces are powerful reminders that teaching and loving what I’m doing are other sources of contentment.
Life is beautiful and wonderful. My son and daughter have adjusted to their new schools and are thriving in their new environments. My son is maturing and becoming an incredible young man whom, daily, makes me proud. My daughter is just….well…incredible.
I could find something to write about that is a rant. I could bash myself for gaining back weight that I struggled to lose.
Or I could remember that I have another seven months before I will be on the Appalachian Trail. And I can win this battle.
I have too many accomplishments that are my own that make me happy and make me proud.
And this is enough for me to be happy on this cold, rainy Monday night.