Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Ordinary Days - Part 3

Ordinary Days - Part 3


How do you spend your evenings?


I get home, I have dinner, I change clothes (that is an old habit, but I find that something as simple as changing my shirt can get my brain out of work mode and provide a clean break at the end of the day).  I might watch the news, or more likely, I will watch some other program that I recorded on the DVR.


After I have spent an hour or so unwinding, two or three times a week I will usually socialize with friends - either they visit me, I visit them, or we meet somewhere.


Almost every night I go out for a walk.  These can be short (a mile or so) fast walks or longer, more rambling walks.  I love to go for my walk right about the time the sun is setting, so I can watch the sunset.  I love the twilight times.


I usually log onto AOL and either chat or go wandering on the internet while I am doing the incidental things around the apartment.


I tend to use email, IM, and text as a connecting method to maintain contact with friends and family, in large part due to its convenience.


I went through a period of a couple of years where I was very telephone adverse, but that seems to have ended last year and I am now quite likely to pick up the phone and give someone a call in the evening, or receive a call.


Evenings are also when I spend time at my various hobbies - photography, writing, reading, movies, guitar, etc.  A lot of times when I am sitting on AOL, I am multitasking at one or the other.


How do you end your day?


I almost always end an ordinary day the same way.  I make sure I have a tall glass of water next to the bed.  I turn on the reading light. I sprawl out with a book.  I usually hope it is a good book, but books tend to be like people, even with references, you are just not sure what you are going to get.  I'll usually have two or three books going at the same time, on different subjects or in different genres, and depending on the mood of the evening I will wrap myself up in one of them.  I will usually read to the point where I can't keep my eyes open.  Then, I will close the book, turn off the light, and fall asleep.


Other Things


As I wrote this, I realized that there were a lot of other things that I tend to do during the course of an ordinary morning and evening - rituals and habits. 


For example, I often meditate and pray at some point during the course of a day - sometimes starting the day, sometimes in the middle of the day, sometimes at the end of the day. 


I almost always spend a little bit of each day checking my favorite web sites and blogs and online journals.  I have the Blackberry so I email or text back and forth with people off and on through day.

Being an extrovert, I socialize a lot during the course of an ordinary day - with friends and neighbors, with incidental people I meet during the day, with co-workers, etc. 

So, you now have kind of a feel for my ordinary days.  There is nothing spectacular here, nothing peak, nothing extraordinary.  Just the ordinary stuff that shapes us profoundly as we move through this life.

Like a lot of people my ordinary days tend to be "flexible within the frame".  The frame of each day is pretty much the same - what happens within the frame varies depending upon the circumstances.

It is quite possible to have peak experiences during the course of an ordinary day - I think everyone has one or two each day.  They see something cool.  They have a great lunch.  They have a wonderful conversation.  They hear a beautiful piece of music.  They make love. They know moments of sorrow and moments of joy.  They hit the perfect note.  They attain a personal goal.   They feel the runners high.  They laugh or cry with a friend.  They finish that great book.

Those fold into the mix that makes our days, both the ordinary and the extraordinary.

Personally, I think the key to happiness is NOT in the peak experiences - they're great, don't get me wrong - but the key to personal happiness is in the overall quality of the ordinary day - the baseline of happiness.  How we feel in the ordinary moments.


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