The smallest changes are the most profound, don't you think? I've been in a bit of a rut lately; a common mid-winter story in family households, most probably. But a few simple changes have had a big difference to my day-to-day and they're making me happy.
1. I've started taking my work to the library : I can easily work at home with a newborn and a crawling baby but as soon as Percy started walking and ferociously hitting the keyboard while I typed, it was time to explore other options. A few weeks ago, when the car was at the mechanic and Percy was with his grandma, I spent three incredibly productive hours at the local library. It wasn't particularly quiet, nor was I tucked into a booth surrounded by other studious folk...but somehow, being in the midst of book readers and fellow typers was continual motivation for me to write! A revelation! Working from home has its pluses (put on a load of washing when the words are stuck, make a cup of tea whenever you please, do a load of dishes between stories) but I find that being at home, surrounded by a relentless list of to-dos, is sometimes a really hard place to concentrate. I'm torn between getting chores done before the kids come home and getting the words on the page. The library offers me uninterrupted time to solely focus on my work - I'm there to write and do nothing else. I can't even make a cup of tea which, in hindsight, is often procrastination disguised as thirst. And you know what, I've rekindled my love of writing. Sometimes working from home with kids in tow is just plain, hard work. But there's a spark within me when I get to sit in the library and type because I'm there as a writer....and not a mother-running-a-house-who-is-also-trying-to-make-deadline. It's refreshing, to say the least.
2. I've started reading again : being surrounded by books does that to you. But also, I've found that while breastfeeding Percy I was spending far too much time scrolling on my phone which is often draining - on my eyes and my self-worth. But with a book in hand and pages to turn, I'm relaxed and delighted - it's twenty minutes, a few times a day, that I can spend indulging in a story and it's nourishing a part of me that's been very depleted. I used to be an avid reader - there was always a book on the go - on my bedside table, in my bag, next to me while I cooked. But motherhood leaves little space or time for novels and it's all too easy to loose your reading mojo. Thankfully it has returned, with a spirited vengeance! My recommendations? I adored The Rosie Project, Hope Farm was a gripping page-turner and I'm currently in the midst of the charming Bird by Bird. But if you're going to read one book this year, make sure it's When Breath Becomes Air. I read it in a day - couldn't put it down. It's one of the most eloquent books I've ever read. Written by a neurosurgeon as he faces a lung cancer diagnosis, it's heartbreaking, life-affirming and utterly unforgettable.
3. I've replenished my house plants : what with a disruptive few months looking for a house, moving and then settling, the last thing on my mind was plants. But now that the sun is warming this north-facing home of ours and the furniture has found its place, I felt it was time for a nursery visit. Adding a little green really does lift the general mood and it's working wonders around here.
What's making you happy today? Any book recommendations you would like to share?