In the midst of reading about her scary venture into the land of book-writing (I know it's scary because visit sometimes and get frightened away), I see the quote from Annie Dillard, "How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives." Of course. OF COURSE. I love that break in that sentence. Because, yes, it is of course, like, "duh!," but it's not. It should be so blatenly obvious that it wouldn't even stand out as quotable, but it's not. It wouldn't really need the "of course," if it were.
So, I'm reflecting on how I spend my days. As I type this, I am listening to my tired baby holler at me (not quite crying), making turkey broth, heating up a mix of leftovers that my mom/aunt are constantly, life-savingly, bestowing upon us, listening to the new fundraiser "Feed the World" song (which I embarrassed to say I kinda like), and worrying about having to wake said hollering baby up in a half an hour to take him to Tim's work and drop him off so I can get to work and conference.
And, I am typing this. Of course.
This next part might make it sound like this is going to be a post about multitasking and how it's terrible and how my attention is split in a million ways. It is not. Hang on.
Adding to the list, I am also watching my phone, because I'm having a text-catch-up conversation with one of my oldest friends who is in a very different time in her life than I am. When she asked how I was, I said, "Life is a weird mix of perfect, happy, busy, and boring [...] But so good:) No complaints here!" And when I asked her the same question: "Life is good, busy, terrifying, you know, all the things it should be for a single 30-year-old."
This is the first time in my life where I have really tasted the day to day doldrums of a life that is largely repetitive. I've been lucky. I've never had a normal 9-5 job for more than two summers, which is not to say I haven't worked, a lot. Tim and I were talking about how I used to teach 5 classes at three different places (and how a lot of people have to do that, with kids, to make ends meet. Hail them.) And even now, my week is not exactly 9-5 repetitive, it's different most every day, but it's a reorganization of the same events, with very little deviation. And when we deviate, we pay for it with a cranky baby, then a cranky mama and papa.
This has me thinking about this funny and true excerpt from David Foster Wallace's now famous commencement speech:
By way of example, let's say it's an average adult day, and you get up in the morning, go to your challenging, white-collar, college-graduate job, and you work hard for eight or ten hours, and at the end of the day you're tired and somewhat stressed and all you want is to go home and have a good supper and maybe unwind for an hour, and then hit the sack early because, of course, you have to get up the next day and do it all again. But then you remember there's no food at home. You haven't had time to shop this week because of your challenging job, and so now after work you have to get in your car and drive to the supermarket. It's the end of the work day and the traffic is apt to be: very bad. So getting to the store takes way longer than it should, and when you finally get there, the supermarket is very crowded, because of course it's the time of day when all the other people with jobs also try to squeeze in some grocery shopping. And the store is hideously lit and infused with soul-killing muzak or corporate pop and it's pretty much the last place you want to be but you can't just get in and quickly out; you have to wander all over the huge, over-lit store's confusing aisles to find the stuff you want and you have to manoeuvre your junky cart through all these other tired, hurried people with carts (et cetera, et cetera, cutting stuff out because this is a long ceremony) and eventually you get all your supper supplies, except now it turns out there aren't enough check-out lanes open even though it's the end-of-the-day rush. So the checkout line is incredibly long, which is stupid and infuriating. But you can't take your frustration out on the frantic lady working the register, who is overworked at a job whose daily tedium and meaninglessness surpasses the imagination of any of us here at a prestigious college.
But anyway, you finally get to the checkout line's front, and you pay for your food, and you get told to "Have a nice day" in a voice that is the absolute voice of death. Then you have to take your creepy, flimsy, plastic bags of groceries in your cart with the one crazy wheel that pulls maddeningly to the left, all the way out through the crowded, bumpy, littery parking lot, and then you have to drive all the way home through slow, heavy, SUV-intensive, rush-hour traffic, et cetera et cetera.
Everyone here has done this, of course. But it hasn't yet been part of you graduates' actual life routine, day after week after month after year.
Back to self-examination: I am so lucky to be able to look at my day to day and think, yes, I'm doing what I want to do. But my job is very precarious and I have a 50% chance of not getting my contract renewed for the upcoming year. And I very well may be in a 9-5 job this time next year. Or maybe I'll try to put my money where my mouth is and try to free-lance, but that is a whole different kind of scariness. And I
So I am trying my best to love right now, the boredom and the sameness. And right now: Baby is sleeping. Leftovers warmed up. And an Elvis Christmas song just came on the radio.