As a military paratrooper, my dad was paid a little extra. And dad – being European and of good taste – used that “extra” money to send his beloved fiancé, our mom, a number of lovely things. Never “the fancy type,” there is a photo of my mom posing in a sumptuous Japanese kimono, perched and smiling on our mid-century sofa. Dad also sent an “Albion, Made in Japan” tea set which today creates a little magic in a place of honor on my kitchen counter. There’s just one problem – somewhere along the way, through the moves, the illnesses, and the losses of my childhood, the creamer was either lost or irreparably broken.
I don’t need a creamer. It’s unnecessary when I can pour from that carton of Half ‘n Half just fine – no concern about breaking anything there! But I long to find that missing piece, forever scouring the Replacements site, ebay, Etsy, junk shops, thrift shops, and antique malls.
To date, that “unnecessary” piece has eluded me in a way that my father’s sensibilities have not. He had that innate ability to create magic from the stuff of ordinary life, and I often wonder if I possess enough of that same type of magic, as I tend to get weighed down in the practical, holding the whimsical at arm’s length. Some call it living joyfully, or expressing self-care or self-love. I tend to agree.
If your practical nature leaves you bogged down in a steady stream of mundanity – “being very ordinary and therefore not interesting” – ask yourself:
- “Where’s the creamer in my life?” What can I give myself permission to have, or to have more of?”
- “What can I do today that will make these 24 hours brighter, more joyful?”
Consider some of the following for inspiration:
Remember the “Why” behind everything you do. Whether it’s opening the door for a stranger, doing your morning stretches, or leaving a wee surprise for a neighbor, remember that your actions are a reflection of who you have chosen to be – and that’s a beautiful thing.
Elevate the ordinary. In our home, Sunday morning is all about a scented candle, background music, juice in a wine glass, and a brunch-like breakfast. By bringing magic to our morning meal, we set the tone for the day ahead.
Don’t wait for “someday.” Book ahead with the people you care about. Case in point, I am spending this afternoon out shopping with a friend, followed by a leisurely, conversation-rich meal. We planned this many weeks ago, because “we should get together” rarely works.
Do something new or different every month. If you tend to put your experiences on repeat, please give this one some serious thought. It could be something like reading an author for the first time, visiting a different park, or trying out a new recipe – just for starters. When you get the hang of it, be bolder: book a getaway to a new place or start to learn a language or an instrument.
Give your next book club meeting a theme or ask your girlfriends to bring a favorite poem to share the next time you get together. The idea is to use your imagination to infuse the ordinary with something different. Once you’ve set the tone, you will find that others are inspired by your example and will offer future ideas. I had a neighbor who loved hosting Happy Hour. On one occasion, she offered a champagne tasting instead. More magic!
And every day, you can:
Do something nice for yourself when you complete a difficult or boring task.
Spray just a touch of your favorite scent on your bedding before your head hits the pillow.
Dress for yourself, regardless of what anyone else thinks.
I am grateful for the awareness that I have the power to create magic from the stuff of ordinary life – which is why my search for the elusive creamer continues, unabated.