A friend wrote to me yesterday. She’s a writer and philosopher and sees the world with a clarity that I love.
She wrote about finding happiness in work removes the need for balance. That if you do what you love and are good at, there’s no need for a work life balance, you have just life.
And finding that happiness starts with knowing what your perfect day is.
I don’t know what my perfect day is. Not at all.
Oh I can look back on perfect days, days where memory has polished the sharp edges and made seem more perfect than they were.
Like when I was travelling, because dammit I love airports and going places, and I love seeing people who could be from anywhere in the world, going to anywhere in the world. That fucking moves me.
But I forget the moments where I’m juggling luggage and the need to pee. Where bathrooms are full or a long walk away.
Or when the cheapest food is hastily grabbed chocolate and Coke.
Or the lines for customs are three miles long and the air isn’t circulating.
Or every time I’ve been lost in a foreign airport (which is pretty much every time I’ve traveled).
Actually… I don’t mind those because it means I’m travelling. So is my perfect day a mix of going some place different via plane with all the pain included?
Maybe my perfect day is when I wake up and have no obligations so I stay in bed and read and read and read for hours. Then I wander to the kitchen and get something nice to eat. And then sit outside and write or draw in my sketchbook.
A passive day with no demands.
Or maybe my day involves heading to the beach. It’s sunny and warm and the water is gorgeous. I pause for food at a restaurant and get a plate of boquerones and a beer. Surrounded by people, maybe with a friend or two at my side. The sky goes on forever, so blue. And I look over the water and I’m convinced I can see Africa.
Then there’s the day where I get lost painting. Creating something so new and exciting that I hold my breath for hours, feeling that clutch in my stomach. This. This is where I belong. And I surface and discover the day is almost done. It’s dark out but I am satisfied.
And in those perfect days are imperfect moments. Moments I find grounding.
The hunger that comes when painting is intense and I forget to eat until I feel like I’m going to fall over with hunger.
Staying in bed all day means I’m as stiff as hell when I finally move. I walk like I’m 80 and leaving my bed means facing the world.
Spending time on the beach means potential contact with loose dogs and I’m not a huge fan of dogs running towards me. But the risk is so worth the outcome.
But I notice a few common themes running through this list. My perfect day doesn’t involve chasing after kids or being responsible for anyone else. There’s a sense of only answering my own needs.
In fact the writing of this was interrupted several times over hours because a fish needed medicine, the pool needed cleaning, dinner needed sorting out and so on plus laundry needed doing. My days, especially right now, are fractured into pieces of the needs of other people.
So when I was finally on my own, surrounded by other fully capable adults who had no needs from me, and days that were the exact opposite of fractured, I suddenly had a perfect, so many perfect days. So that even the rough edges were welcomed in.
I’m not sure what to do with this exercise but it’s interesting to realize there are changes I could look at making in my life.
What happens when you describe your perfect day?
Also now I’m hungry but the nearest good boquerones are 6,000 km away. BOOOOO!