I love listening to music with lyrics, but because so much of my life revolves around reading, writing, and editing, I often find I have to reserve lyrical music for other activities like running or baking lest I get distracted by the words. Because of this, I value my lyrical time. I love running with a soundtrack and getting pulled away into the storyline; love baking to whimsical tunes that make me feel like I’m absolutely the main character in an early 2000s romcom and that I am absolutely the most interesting person in all of New York.
But just the other day, I was moving through my apartment sans music and I noticed something. It wasn’t quite quiet.
I’ve been on an overnight oats kick—refilling my empty jelly container each day with oats and dairy-free milk and tossing it into the fridge for an easy morning meal. This particular morning, after a long run, I couldn’t recall whether I’d made one the night before or not and when I opened my fridge, I said an audible “I love you so much” to my 24 hour younger self.
It was after this oat jar had been consumed and as I was preparing to make the next day’s jar that I noticed all the noise. Not music noise. Not New York street noise. But household noise. Every day activity noise. The noise of the cardboard oats carton hitting my countertop. The gentle pitter patter as the dry oats danced at the bottom of the glass jar. The bubbling of filling the air pockets with soy milk. The clink and swoop as the jar lid met its hook and was tightly secured.
The fridge door creaking. My hands instinctively going to the child safety lock my roommate and I installed on the fridge and freezer after it was accidentally left open one night. The way they sound clicking into place.
The noise of a quiet, gentle life. The way life is supposed to be lived.
For months now, I’ve had a note in my blog document about romanticizing your life and how special it is when you are able to romanticize every day. Not vacation. Not a weekend. Not even a special treat at your favorite coffee shop. But what if, rather, I learned to romanticize the empty jelly jar and the way it has been repurposed for a simple breakfast. What if I fell in love with the creak of my floor boards as I tiptoe to my living room with a too full mug of tea on Monday mornings? What if I could love Tuesday afternoon as much as Saturday night? What if I could make my whole life that whimsical?
And who’s to say I can’t? Who’s to say I can’t romanticize in every direction? I could feel embarrassed about the cringy things I did in middle school. Or I could romanticize the past by loving that awkward 13-year-old who was still figuring out who she was and wanted to be.
I could feel overwhelmed by my week’s to-do list. Or I could romanticize the present by moving gently and lovingly from activity to activity and appreciating the way not too long ago, I dreamt about this kind of fulfilling schedule.
I could feel anxious about where I’ll be this time next year or in 2030. Or I could romanticize the future by seeing how much growth I’ve experienced in the past and know that I will carry that with me tomorrow and beyond.
I could feel like I’m going through the motions. Or I could turn off the music, move about an empty apartment in silence, and take in the subtle romantic joy of every day, ordinary, very average things. And if I can do that, I think I might just set myself up for the most lovely life.