On the phone with my dear friend Aliza: “I want to write a new post but I don’t have a topic.”
“A good day.”
“Write about a good day.”
Hmm… It never occurred to me, but what a great idea! So here it is: what a good day looks like for me.
My good day starts with a natural awakening after five or six hours of uninterrupted sleep without a sleeping pill. Insomnia is an issue for so many of us, and I am no exception. Waking up after a natural sleep and without the alarm is a luxury and a wonderful start to the day.
I do my usual morning inventory of body parts before getting out of bed. Wiggle this, stretch that. What hurts and how badly does it hurt? On a good day everything works, stretches do not end up in sharply painful muscle cramps, and I don’t even have a headache. It’s a good day: no extra pain meds first thing in the morning. I stretch, sit on the side of the bed and I’m not dizzy or woozy. Oh, right! I didn’t take a sleeper last night. Yay!
I go straight into the kitchen to put on water for coffee (the elixir of life) and then upstairs to the bathroom for morning stuff. Yes, my bed is downstairs and the bathroom is upstairs. Not ideal for someone with chronic pain and serious illness, but this is a good day and it doesn’t faze me at all. I go up and down the stairs on alternating steps instead of one step at a time like a toddler or a very old person.
After I make the coffee and since I’m feeling pretty good, I decide to make an omelet for breakfast. My fingers function pretty well on a good day, so I chop up some onions and tomatoes, slice some potatoes and have a cheese and salsa omelet with home fries. (You can take the girl out of America, but…) Then I go upstairs to my little oratory (since it’s a good day, I can pray up there instead of in bed) for Morning Prayer and meditation.
Back downstairs, I have a piece of fruit and maybe a second cup of coffee while I open Facebook and Twitter and see how everyone is today. Read the newspapers and medical news sites online. Get a little outraged at something and a little delighted at something else. Watch some cat videos.
If it’s nice out, and it is for most of the year in Jerusalem, I might go sit outside for a bit. Maybe I’ll read or listen to an audio book, or maybe I’ll do the New York Times crossword puzzle.
Other things I like to do on a good day? Read, write, and research blog posts. Watch TV shows and movies on line. Cook something: in winter it will be a nice soup, in warmer weather maybe chili or a stew or curry and salad. Prayer and meditation are a big part of my life. When I’m feeling pretty good, I might say the Midday Prayer outside while looking at the flowers and trees and listening to the birds if it’s nice out. Otherwise, I’ll go upstairs to the little oratory. I enjoy not having to stay in bed to pray.
After lunch (probably a sandwich on homemade whole wheat bread), I take a nap. Even on good days I have to conserve my energy. I’ll put an audio book on the timer and listen until I fall asleep or decide to get up. Usually the former. After I wake up, I stay in bed a bit more, just enjoying being horizontal with all my muscles relaxed.
The afternoon will look much like the morning, but I’ll also spend some time on Dorphina. Since we’re talking about a good day, it will be forty-five minutes or an hour. Afterwards, I ride the endorphin high (because endorphins are our friends!) and just enjoy feeling good. In the evening I pray Vespers in the oratory and meditate again. Maybe I’ll celebrate the good day by having an individual pizza from Dominos some other delivery meal for dinner. I watch TV online in the evening.
I don’t work anymore because the disease has made me too unreliable. They can’t count on me and I can’t count on my mind. This means that my days are concentrated around the little things that I can do at home. Praying and meditating is a big part of the day, even though I can’t spend as many hours a day at it as I used to. Reading, writing, being in touch with people through my Facebook support group and other friends. Sharing my space with others when my helpers come (three or four times a week); otherwise enjoying my solitude. Listening to books. Doing hard crossword puzzles and playing Lexulous. Looking at the garden.
A good day for me is simplicity, beautiful simplicity, a breathing space when I can enjoy living in my body, in my small stone house, in the world that I love.
Image credit: Olga Khomyakova