My life is quiet these days. My routine is mostly fixed, and ordinary. I work from home, and sometimes only leave the house in order to exercise my dog. If it weren’t for those twice-daily bike rides or visits to the park two blocks up the road, I would probably never leave the confines of my little office. I suppose this schedule could leave me lonely, or bored, but I am every day finding out that those two things are simply not in my nature. I enjoy solitude enough to get lonely on only very rare occasions, and there is far too much reading and writing to do to feel truly bored. Plus, my needy and loving dog never strays so far that I could ever be too deep in either loneliness or boredom.
More and more I find that in this simplicity of living, I am happier than I have ever been. Every morning I wake to an open day, free to schedule and compartmentalize as I please. It is not lost on me how lucky I am to determine my own hour of waking and schedule of work. Though my day job might be monotonous and less-than-stimulating, I am lucky to be working at least somewhat in my field of interest and at my own pace. I spend at least one-third of my day reading, and have been able to plow through the stack of books that had previously been haunting me from a corner in my office. Each evening I set to cook whatever meal seems healthy and satisfying, and I eat as much or as little as I please, at whatever hour I determine to be dinnertime. Last night, I had planned an elaborate Asian assortment of rice, veggies, and sauces, but at the last minute decided that a bowl of cereal with sliced strawberries actually sounded best, and ate that instead.
I wrote for four hours, getting myself further into the novel I’m working on than thought I’d get all week, with only the company of my sleeping dog behind me and a nearly empty glass of wine. Afterwards, I took Mona on a brisk nighttime walk and watched her trot along the twinkle light-brightened sidewalk, as happy as I’d ever seen her. It was at that moment, bundled up against the Pacific Northwest chill, that I realized how enjoyable this kind of simple activity can be.
Though my life has recently taken a turn that I could not have anticipated, I feel the most myself I have ever felt. I make no apologies about this: I have not been true to myself for the past few years. But I am finding it easier and easier to discover what that means with each passing day spent on my own terms. I eat what I want, when I want. I do what I want, read what sounds interesting, write when the mood strikes.
Do I still zone out with the TV on? Yes. And are the programs I watch kind of embarrassing to admit? Of course. I am not perfect; I am not 100% lovable. But I am living my life the way it feels right for me and at the end of the day, what else matters? I’m pretty lazy, a little selfish, and sometimes downright stubborn. But I am happy. I am going after the things that make me feel good, and am certain that this is what is important at this very moment.
I don’t care anymore if what I’m doing follows the path of expectations I’d previously drawn up, because those expectations didn’t lead me to good things. If things as simple as brisk nighttime walks, bathtub reading sessions, deliciously long emails from someone I love, bowls of cereal, phone calls from old friends, or watering my plants can keep me smiling from morning to night, then I know I must be doing something right.