The Blessing of an Ordinary Week

This week, nothing much happened—and that’s exactly what I look for in a week.

It’s been a quiet week here. The weather was uneventful, the children relatively untroubled, the schedule not terribly arduous. There were five days of school, which everyone actually attended. No doctor’s appointments, no orthodontist or dentist visits—largely because apparently 6-months-ago me thought it would be great to put them all last week. (Good one, past me. Ha, ha.)

Just an ordinary week, and I couldn’t be happier about it.

Summer was glorious in its freedom and travel. The back-to-school season is filled with milestones, and the upcoming holidays packed with traditions. Those things are wonderful: they help us to stretch our time by creating new memories and encouraging us to challenge ourselves—as Gretchen Rubin, the author of The Four Tendencies and host of the “Happier” podcast once told me, “Life feels richer when some parts of it are different.” Routines run together into a single memory. Special days stand out.

But the routine days have such a magic in them, too, especially in a month when the news is a constant reminder that our lives can be turned over in an instant. When we learn to take in the measured joy of our steady lives, and make a practice of savoring the ordinary, we build up a reservoir of peace and contentment that can help us recover when things go wrong, says Rick Hanson, a neuropsychologist and the author of Hardwiring Happiness. “When my mother passed away,” he writes, “I felt sad and lost, but those feelings were like storm clouds in a big sky of acceptance, gratitude and love for my family.”

I want that big sky, don’t you? So I’m absorbing every moment I can of these fall days when our family is together and gently flourishing. If you’re in that good place—or next time you  find yourself there—take a minute. Let it soak in.

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