Blog posts have slowed down lately, due in part to my utter angst about trying to pick a new blog name (spoiler: I hate everything other than names that are already taken), and my desire to not just spill more drivel into the internet. I don’t just want to write posts with repeat splashes of my Instagram feed. [Oops.] I want to blog about things that matter or at least things that are happening, and honestly – not much is.
At least, not much that is exciting. I’m still teaching, still slogging through the endless grading that accompanies teaching, but you don’t really need to hear about that. The biggest thing that happened in teaching lately is probably that I managed to correctly use the phrase “bye Felicia” in class — and only because I googled it last week to understand why everyone was suddenly adding this random phrase to things. Needless to say, my students were impressed. Or pretended to be, which I will obviously take, as the only thing teachers love more than real enthusiasm, is feigned enthusiasm. Because it shows you care enough to try.
I’m still reading, taking notes, and swimming forward in thesis work. I’ve told a couple people that starting a dissertation is like slowly drowning in a beautiful ocean. You love the ocean, but you know you have to get out or it will kill you. You start grasping at anything solid around you, strapping it together to build a raft that will sail you to shore. Once you are on the raft, it’s easy. But for now- I’m just grasping at fragments that pass by, hoping that this cobbled raft of an idea is enough to keep me and my committee afloat.
And we are still doing the many things that make daily life fun. Friends, food, binges of quality TV shows. Walks around our neighborhood to enjoy the changing seasons. Long runs to listen to audio books or chat with my running buddy. We started hosting Bible Study in our home last month, and I spend Wednesday evenings leading games for children’s church. We laugh a lot in our home, and let laundry sit in the dryer for days before it gets folded.
A couple weeks ago we had dinner with some friends who we see far too infrequently. After dinner, our friend Davey selected poems for us to each read aloud, as he knows way more about poetry than your average modern American. The one he picked for me was perfect, and I’ve thought about it so much since then, rolling over the phrases in my head. So many poems are grand, serious, emotional. But this poem by Wendy Cope, this poem sums up the sweet joy of the little moments that make a life full. And so in lieu of a grand photo-spread of awesome things, here is a poem about eating an orange.
At lunchtime I bought a huge orange—
The size of it made us all laugh.
I peeled it and shared it with Robert and Dave—
They got quarters and I got a half.
And that orange, it made me so happy,
As ordinary things often do
Just lately. The shopping. A walk in the park.
This is peace and contentment. It’s new.
The rest of the day was quite easy.
I did all the jobs on my list
And enjoyed them and had some time over.
I love you. I’m glad I exist.
Here’s to productive days, and being delighted by little things. Here’s to sharing oranges and being so happy to just exist in a world full of ordinary pleasures.