Each day is a different beast. Whether it is work, kids, taking transit, shoveling snow or just trying to deal with too many inner thoughts, everyone has their own life-preserver that makes it all better.
The essential things, moments and people who bring us back to our happy place. Life can get pretty chaotic and sometimes miserable, so here are 10 essentials to my day being great.
1. A hot cup of tea. For anyone who knows me, they know that tea is my fuel. Tea is my warm blanket. Tea is what makes me happy. It has been a routine for most of my life. Just putting the kettle on is a shield for me from the big, bad world. There is little that I can’t get through holding my mug in hand. It’s the first thing I drink in the morning, it’s the last thing I drink in the evening. I am practically a commercial for Tetley or Red Rose.
2. Family smiles. The mornings are crazy. The evenings are tiring. But scattered throughout the journey are smiles. Smiles from my wife and two boys. You can be in the shittiest mood, but a smile will bring you back from the brink. I think Charlie was put on this planet to provide smiles that make everything better. He should become a professional. As parents, the hours go by so fast. But it’s nice to share smiles. They are quiet and convey a message that does not add to the noise of the household. Harry actually reminds me to smile more. That in itself makes me happy.
3. My phone. Say what you want about becoming reliant on technology, but we have. My Galaxy Note 4 is my command center. Other than writing blog posts, I hardly sit at my computer anymore. My phone is my mobile connection to the world. It is what I read books on, play games on and take pictures with. It tells me the weather and helps me relax with jazz. It’s hard to remember a time when I did not have everything I need on my person at all times.
4. 30 minutes of TV. Now that is around the minimum of what I feel I need to relax. There is usually more, but I am talking about time by yourself to just watch whatever and turn the brain off. For me, this reboot time is just after the kids go to bed. I will watch some 25 minute show, whether it is about food, sports of home DIY. It is simply for rebooting the brain after surviving another day. Then I am ready to digest whatever is next. In the week, it is more TV with Katie. I think we all need a 25-30 minute reboot to refresh and start again. A TV show is what does it for me.
5. A tidy space. I am not talking eat off the floor clean, I just mean in order. It’s hard for me to complete a task in a room that is messy. It can be as simple as picking Lego off the floor, but I need to do it. My mind can’t focus or relax with a mess right next to me. I don’t need to clean the house before I move on, just the direct surroundings. Same for the kitchen. Clutter and mess are not the best for having fun cooking dinner. Same for working. A desk that is covered in stuff, just distracts me.
6. A walk. Walking is a great way to change the narrative in your day. It can be 10 minutes or an hour. For me it gets me going, gets the brain going and breaks up any lazy routine I am probably falling into. I walk the kids to and from school every day and even that 20 minutes sparks my thoughts again. I like seeing even the smallest changes in the neighbourhood and breathing in fresh air. Some days, I go a little over board and walk for hours. Thanks to my phone, I even have gotten caught up in tracking it.
7. Emails. I love emails. I hate talking on the phone. I am not that big of a texter. Katie and I have been exchanging dozens of emails a day for 10 years. It’s how we communicate and shed stuff from our brains. It is how we keep in touch and stick together as a team. If for whatever reason one of us can’t email for a few hours, it gets a little lonely wondering what each of us are up to. I can live without Facebook, Twitter and all that noise, but email, I am 100% certain it is an essential to my day.
8. Quiet. I love quiet. I love hearing nothing but the sounds of the outside world leaking in through the windows. I am also lucky enough that for the most part I get to control my level of quiet. At home or when working, I am always in a place that is pretty low-key. A lot of busy noise stresses me out. Sounds I can’t really control can also bother me as well. But that is probably the case for many of you. Quiet is a recharge for me. After a few hours of being out in Toronto, on the TTC or at a mall, I need to go home and plug into some quiet.
9. Pillows. Pillows play a big part in my day. More importantly a pillow can also make my day rough. I like to find that sweet spot for my bed pillow or couch pillow. You know that spot. You just feel so comfortable. Funny enough, every now and then, I lose that spot. Pillow cases get washed, pillows get moved and you lose that comfort zone. It makes for bad sleeps and uncomfortable TV watching. I hate moving pillows. I guess I just fear I will lose that sweet spot and never find it again. Very silly I know, but this is my list, not yours.
10. Hugs. See 2. Family Smiles. I grew up in a family where hugs did the trick. We were not super huggers. We did not grab on to anyone. But those who hugged, did it right. I know Katie has always been a fan of my big hugs. I also think I have passed on the hugging gene to the boys. They love hugs. In fact they are very much super huggers. They have little filtering on who gets hugs. It’s great. Hugs are something everyone needs every day. I wish it were true that everyone did get hugs.
See, I don’t need much to have a great day. I don’t need much to bounce back from a shitty day. There is certainly a theme to my 10 essentials. For the most part, they are the things that help me feel protected from the cold, outside world of problems and annoyances. They all are in some way keeping me attached to who I am and who my family is. I am not going to say I will fall apart without each of these 10 things each day, but I will certainly be much more grumpy and less me-like. And who wants that?