Some days, as I go through the ordinary tasks of everyday living, I find comfort in the humdrum moments of the life I live. Much can be said about the power of the familiar and the comfortable. Like a cliche in a pleasant movie, we enjoy the familiarity as much as we might decry the sheer normalcy of it. Everyone wants change, and excitement, and for the world to respond to us as we seek to interact with it, but few want it constantly.
My weeks are almost frustratingly typical. I work the same hours, give or take thirty minutes each day. I eat the same meals, at least within the week if not without it, but still the same ones from month to month. A good stir fry one week, some large pot dish like chili or stew or pasta and a red sauce I simmered for maybe too long. Pizza throughout, sandwiches here and there, and maybe chicken or fish if I’m feeling like a step away from my norm. Fruit, cereal, or eggs most days, with the occasional pancake or waffle when I feel like none of them are sufficient.
Even my conversations with my friends fall into old, familiar patterns. A game of friendly insults and jibes against a friend whose passion makes her an even match for my quick wit, ending eventually with the almost decade-old pattern as we acknowledge the difference in out time zones. Casual check-ins with another friend, as we provide distant but earnest emotional support and try to make the time to do something more than send a few texts. They ebb and flow in a familiar pattern that is both a comfort and a source of small sadness. These distances, in space and time, have been constant for so long that they are as much a part of our friendship as the thoughts and feelings we share. I have known them apart far longer than I knew them near, now, and it does not hurt so much as ache like a nostalgia for yesterday.
As I reflect on this, my mind revolts and celebrates in equal measure. What a blessing, to have so stable a life as to be able to depend on the twists and turns of it, at least on the large and the small scale. The medium scale has proven less stable than once expected, but that is all the more reason to treasure this predictability where I can find it. But also, what a curse to feel so entrenched in my life that the idea of living any other kind of life feels so foreign as to be impossible. I could no more live a different life than I could have a different past, and isn’t that just so stagnating? Doesn’t the stillness and silence just grate with its sheer pleasantness?
Things are not perfect, of course, so pursuing change is important as I try my best to live a life I will not regret, but it is not worth destroying something familiar and comfortable just to make any change at all. Stability has its place, just as change does. Right now, as I focus on my personal, interal growth, change I can’t measure against the stability and peace of a life that is slowly wearing a groove into the universe, I let things stay stable almost to the point of stagnation. Never all the way, because external stagnation would ruin the work I am doing on myself, but I know the point is not so far off as it once was. I can feel myself stretch and strain against the bonds of normalcy I’ve not just encountered but encouraged. Soon, it will be time to make change, to upend the peace and quietude.
But now, as I reflect on the lack of inner turmoil, the peace and calmness I feel inside that is beginning to match the stillness of my life outside, I just want to appreciate it all. I have had so little peace in my life, for a myriad of reasons, and I want to enjoy it while I can, between moments of growth and change. Growth and change I’m taking upon myself, now, instead of being forced to accept by others, for not the first time in my life, but the longest uninterrupted time in my life.
It’s nice. Even if I’m not always happy about it, even if the peace and stillness can be lonely or so loud that even my thoughts drown in them, it’s just nice to feel this and know I chose it myself. And can choose something else, as soon as I’m ready.