How Ordinary Moments Matter
Gratitude and Ordinary Moments
I’ve blogged before about how completing my ‘grateful list’ each day, even when I don’t feel like doing it, is important to me. I really do think that actively and consciously expressing gratitude creates positive emotions and increases personal well-being. I suppose it’s a kind of ‘you reap what you sew’ scenario in which, even if you don’t feel like reaping, you should ‘fake it to make it’! – I’m not sure I’m expressing myself very well, but hopefully you get the idea. Weirdly since I first wrote this blog the other day I have come across the idea of celebrating ordinary ‘parenting moments’ as a group on a superb website I’ve come across. It’s kind of what I was getting at but much better! It is a feature called ‘Ordinary Moments’ on a website by Donna Wishart called What the Redhead Said. Definitely have a look at it.
Seemingly Ordinary Moments
Anyhow, this morning I really did not want to swim. It was flipping freezing outside (well compared to Bangkok anyway) and I was tucked up in bed, snug as a bug in a rug; having not having had a great deal of sleep I was desirous of more. (Sleep deprivation being the price an over anxious mum pays when she knows that her baby girl, Betsy, is out night-clubbing in York until 3.00 am.) When my alarm went at 6.00 a.m. I was very tempted to ignore it, but a motivational text, sent by my good friend Rach, pinged in which chivvied me into getting up, facing the dark morning and joining the other early swimmers at Ancholme Leisure Centre. As Rach had rightly predicted I felt really good after swimming and was grateful for her text. Although it was just a ‘moment’ it was one that I will remember positively.
I think that whilst there’s no doubt that big life changing events, such as holding your little newborn for the first time and stuff like that, are massive it is also often small life ‘moments’ from which we make our memories and significantly from which our sense of self-worth comes. For some reason driving home from swimming this morning loads of these random and seemingly insignifcant precious moments arrived fast and furious. The speed probably linked to my being in the Boxter-don’t forget the ‘S’. (I thought I might as well say that before Mick does when he reads and corrects this post!) Mick might not be able to account for the random nature of the ‘moments’ swimming into my mind though. I think it was perhaps because whilst swimming I had been listening to Audrey Niffeneger’s ‘The Time Traveller’s Wife‘ so my brain was primed for thinking about the past and jumping through time.
Here are just a few completely random insignificant significant moments:
- Being about 19 years old and a backseat passenger in the car with my mum and my Grandad Bob. I remember listening to my mum passionately defend my choice of music to him. and them both laughing. We had on Billy Bragg, not my mum’s first, second or even fiftieth choice! Weird how something so small made sure that I knew she had always had and always would have my back.
- Watching a very young Mick walk across the square at the University of Essex, dressed in a dodgy tracksuit, which, as I recall was far too shiny for its own good. I didn’t know him but I did know instantly that our futures would somehow be linked. I think that is a modified version of love at first sight!
- Going down to the monument in the village to ‘hang out’ and knowing within a few minutes of ‘hanging’ that I was never destined to be a ‘cool kid’. More importantly knowing that I didn’t mind at all. I preferred being at home watching ‘Fame’ and chilling with mum and dad.
- Working as ‘Pop Alley Sally’ on a Saturday in Jackson Grandways (a local supermarket) and overhearing the caretaker, Mr Bird, tell my mum (who was my supervisor and gave me all the rotten jobs!) that I was a lovely girl. I was chuffed to have made my mum proud, less chuffed to have to always do the sweeping up.
- Driving to the incomplete Humber Bridge on a weekend to see how the building work was coming along. I remember peering up to the top and looking for my dad’s crane, genuinely believing that my clever old dad had built it all himself.
- Eating trifle for breakfast that my mum had made and thinking it was great that she didn’t mind. It was delicious!
- Having my mum make time to ‘hot-brush’ my hair before schoool, between doing the veg for tea and cleaning up. She taught and teaches me time and time again how not to be selfish.
- Hearing my brother defend something I’d said to his friend Paul. Perhaps he liked me a little bit really!
- At university, listening to my friend Alison share a diary entry she’d written. It went something like “Frances and Sally cut my hair today. It is a bit short and a bit crooked, but I tried not to mind.” Alison, who sadly died of Cystic Fibrosis a few years later, taught me how to be brave and how to be funny.
- Being in about Year 4 and playing football with my friend Suzanne and a crowd of ‘boys’, which also included her brothers. When Suzanne injured herself her brothers said that I was the one who had to look after her because I was a girl. I remember feeling a huge sense of injustice and outrage, but did as was requested!
Signficant Moment Sharing
I could keep going on and on, but my point isn’t to bore everyone to tears, though I can’t seem to stop the memories flooding in. Perhaps I’ll have to devote one of the ‘five a day items’ on my grateful list to a memory. There’s no doubt that re-visiting seemingly unimportant moments are good for the soul! I’ve actually just been reading about how to plan for and live your dreams in this post in a website called Tips from Sharvi. It’s really worth a look if you haven’t come across it.
Of course, I couldn’t have known that these seemingly insignificant events would become precious memories, helping to form who I am, influencing how I react to my own family and friends, and even being instrumental in determining my self-esteem and level of well being. I’m smiling ironically to myself as I write this post; even to myself I’m sounding a bit hippy dippy. Everyone will wonder if I’ve had a bump to the head. Would it be a step too far into the realms of ‘born again upbeat-ness’ to suggest that we have a feel good fest of facebook ‘significant insignificant moments’ sharing? Perhaps it would, so instead maybe just a quiet reflection would suffice … having said that if you feel the urge to share your ‘precious moments’ I’d love to hear them!
I’ve now just come across this blog post too from Blog Lovin’ website. It seems I’m not very original at all and I’m jealous of all these great blogs! !