Most of my blog posts start the same way: me, sitting in my favourite coffee shop, staring at a blank page on my laptop and nursing a latte that I’ve - yet again - let get a little lukewarm. I’ll alternate between staring out of the window, scrolling through Man Repeller and checking Instagram, all the time tossing over ideas in my mind for what could work and what might be interesting. I’ll inevitably write a few sentences, scrap them and start again, waiting for that moment where the words just click and the writing feels like less of an uphill struggle.
This morning as I sat with my coffee, however, gazing out at the January rain peppering the empty courtyard garden, I was filled with a kind of quiet ambience. It’s Monday, it’s miserable, we’re all still suffering through the post-Christmas lull and frankly, I feel personally victimised by my 6.a.m. alarm, but in spite of that, I’m optimistic. I’m feeling grateful for the small pleasures in life that are often dwarfed by broken boilers or missed deadlines - the quiet whispers of joy that we take for granted without even realising, like seeing someone trip up, manage to keep themselves afloat and then laugh maniacally just to let all passing witnesses know that they’re ~ definitely ~ not embarrassed AT ALL (please note: all visible signs of amusement must be contained until it has been confirmed that the subject is indeed upright and not injured. Premature laughter may result in a reduced social standing).
When I (finally) find the words to write, I usually have something I want to say. An idea I want to explore, an annoyance I want to purge or some new angle I’ve found to talk about pubes and why we shouldn’t hate them, but today, I want to shed some light on the little wonders that make our miserable Monday’s bearable. Because as much as we might thrive when we have the bit between our teeth and a drive to “get shit done”, there’s a real joy in just being still and appreciating what is in front of you. Like getting out of the house and into the coffee shop early, as I did this morning, to purposefully make the most of that 9am hush where the rest of the chairs are left largely empty. Or to sit with a lukewarm coffee because I’ve been lucky enough to let it get lukewarm, whilst staring wistfully out into an empty garden and considering how nice it is to be somewhere warm, familiar and buzzing with old school Blues and Jazz.
I’ve been coming to this coffee shop regularly for God knows how long now, but I still feel that momentary smugness when I walk through the door and the girls already know what I want to drink. How nice is it to be known, even if only in small ways? And there are so many other tokens that are easily overlooked when stacked up against the big orders of the day. All too often we forget to appreciate the series of frankly ~ nice ~ things that happen from AM to PM, because we’re all too consumed with firefighting the shit that everyday life throws at us. But today, I invite you to take a breath, stop, and absorb. Not because I’m necessarily good at recognising the small joys in life, but because I’m trying to be better. I’m trying to be more giving, both in a charitable sense with my money, and in a personal sense with my time, and in order to do those things, I need to invest more energy in appreciating what I already have.
Take my Sunday evening, for example. After spending a day with our friends, slightly hungover and eating McDonald’s from our makeshift living room den (which is just our two sofas shoved together with a shit load of blankets on top), I spent 45 minutes trying to get comfortable in bed, forcing Keiran into a series of different spooning positions, all of which he embraced with open arms (literally). I laid behind him, in front of him, with one leg over him and then two.
Not once did he complain (despite the fact that my forehead was almost definitely obscuring his view of the laptop and I was breathing hot air right into his ears), and instead, he adjusted when I adjusted, rested his chin into the nook of my neck and treated me to sporadic kisses whenever I felt a little restless. It’s such an otherwise unremarkable thing, to cuddle with the one you love, but I appreciate that for one person under five foot and one person over six, we fit together as if we’d been made to. No-one else could possibly fit the way that we do.
I’ve also dedicated my Monday afternoons to coffee dates with my Nan. We head out to a garden centre or nearby farm shop, and sit and drink overpriced lattes whilst discussing my Grandad’s latest accidental online purchase or how drunk my brother got at the weekend. In the grand scheme of things a scheduled caffeinated buzz shared with my Nan is seemingly run-of-the-mill, but I’m starting to appreciate the fleeting nature of time more. Once it’s gone, it’s gone, and no amount of “well-I-did-mean-to-do-that-but-life-got-in-the-way” will bring it back, so I’m doing my best to nurture those little moments without needing regret to motivate me.
Brand new, out-of-the-packet fluffy socks. Chaka Khan. Walking around the house in a t-shirt and no pants. My lovely, lovely Postman. Random acts of kindness. Screeching Celine Dion songs with one of my best friends whilst heavily under the influence. French accents. Orgasms - every single one of them. Fresh bread lathered in butter. Every nickname my family ever calls me. The guilty pleasure that comes with annotating a fresh, untouched book. Soft skin. Keiran, in every way. Boys with long hair! God, boys with long hair. Black t-shirts. Dogs trying to understand what other dogs are. Peace. Calm. Quiet. Hugging people that hate hugs. Feeling sexy. My phone being on 1% but refusing to die.
These are just a snapshot of the quiet wonders - the unteased hints of joy - that punctuate my day-to-day, and all of which I’m endeavouring to pluck out and enjoy for what they are: small, fleeting, but truly wonderful.
Make this week a fucking good one, girl.