Finding Joy in the Day to Day


Finding Joy in the Day to Day - Columbia SC Moms BlogPeople often ask me why I started writing, and I usually say something generic like, “I enjoy having a creative outlet,” or, “It’s free therapy,” or, “A friend dared me to,” but truthfully, none of those is 100 percent true.

To be perfectly honest, I started writing so I could become rich and famous, a la Melanie Shankle and Jen Hatmaker, and sit on the beach all day sipping pina coladas. I’d still write, of course, but it would be from the comfort of my mahogany writing desk, located on the second floor of my beach house at Litchfield, instead of from a lumpy chair surrounded by laundry in our man cave. When my eyes got tired of staring at the computer, I’d just gaze out of my picture window overlooking the Atlantic Ocean. And when I got tired of sitting, I’d take a leisurely stroll down the strand. I’d have a year-round tan and those sexy beach curls (What? This is my dream, remember?). I would have nothing but peace and calm and relaxation.

I’d also have absolutely nothing to write about.

See, what I’ve realized over the past two years of doing this writing thing is that the good stuff is in the day-to-day. It’s in the car, singing vacation Bible school songs for the umpteenth time. It’s in the kitchen, cleaning up the mess from decorating Christmas cookies with friends. It’s in the boys’ room, enjoying fresh-from-the-bath snuggles right before bed. After all, even Melanie Shankle spends her days shuttling Caroline to and from soccer practice and grocery shopping at HEB, while Jen Hatmaker is busy lining up Remy’s hair appointments.

Society seems to focus on “Mountaintop Moments,” those moments of transcendence or crowning achievement: the big promotion, the breakthrough discovery, the championship victory. But the truth is, we may only experience a handful of those in our lifetimes, and if we only focus on those moments, we’re going to miss out on what happens along the way. Plus, if too much time passes between pinnacle moments, we start to feel unsuccessful and discouraged, unsure of our abilities and our worth. Ultimately, that mountaintop mindset can steal our joy.

January is a time of setting goals and making resolutions; in essence, we’re planning the steps we’ll take to reach those mountaintop moments. There’s nothing wrong with that. Setting big goals is important. It helps us move and grow and try new things. The problem with being too farsighted, though, is that we lose sight of the good stuff right in front of us each and every day.

A few weeks ago, I went home to Rock Hill to have lunch with two of my lifelong friends. One of them asked how I come up with all of my writing material. After pondering her question for a minute, I realized the answer is simple: Life gives it to me. I look for stories in my sometimes boring, usually crazy, everyday life.

One of my favorite memories from the fall comes from a random Saturday. I went to the grocery store, and when I got home, I asked Alex and the boys to help me unload everything. Now, this is a pretty run-of-the-mill Saturday morning activity for the Bryant family, but this particular Saturday had a twist: Reeves, my four-year-old, was wearing his Incredible Hulk costume, the kind with the exaggerated abs, pecs, and biceps.

As the boys were lugging in their bags, Reeves started to struggle and asked for help. As I relieved some of his load, I said, “Reeves, are you sure you need help? You’re so strong.”

Without missing a beat, he replied, “Mama, these aren’t real muscles. This is a costume.” Y’all, that sweet boy really thought I didn’t know.

Normally, bringing in groceries is one of my least favorite tasks. When bagboys ask if I need help with my bags, I usually think, “Not here, I have a buggy but come to my house, and I’ll put you to work.” But that Saturday, even that loathsome chore brought me joy and continues to make me laugh. Sometimes, what seems to be mundane may just turn out to be magical.

As we embark on a new day, you have a blank page, ready and waiting for you to write your story. Will it be a romance, a mystery, an adventure . . . no one knows. But one thing is for certain: the good stuff is there, in the day-to-day, you just have to pay attention.



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