Blame the fact I'm reading The Handmaid's Tale at the moment, blame the fact that November seems to be dragging on unbearably long, blame the fact that I haven't been out for dinner with friends for nearly ten weeks now as I've been totally housebound six nights a week, meaning adult conversation is somewhat limited - whatever it is, I've been in a very reflective mood lately.
The other night, I made Oli do some silly quiz someone had posted on Facebook - a bit like Mr & Mrs, you had to answer questions about the other person. One of them was 'What do you like the most about me?' and, somewhat incredibly I think, Oli said my 'positivity'. I nearly fell out of bed (we were just about to go to sleep). I try very hard to stay positive, but I do have a tendency to moan on - for me a bit of whinging is cathartic and I do love a good rant. Generally speaking though, I'm quite a content person. When I moan I'm trying to make light of things - it's my way of dealing with stuff, trying to turn it into some silly exaggerated joke.
Having said that, I have been trying really hard to be positive lately, which has been really tough, given the state of the world in general. There's an interesting message in The Handmaid's Tale which basically says 'we didn't know how good we had it until it all changed' and that's kind of how I feel about the state of things world-wise at the moment. It's all very good thinking change will be better, but what if it's not, what if it's worse?
Anyway, in order to counteract this rather deep-seated sense of malaise and fear - especially as I have a little one to think of, imagining the world she's coming into is terrifying quite frankly - I've been trying to appreciate the small things in life. Each day, trying to live in the present (which is one of my top tips for coping with life in general actually). I do think having a baby makes you appreciate the simple things - it's a cliche because it's true. I used to be all about fancy events, expensive clothes and handbags and, well... showing off, and while I do still like most of these things (!), they seem to come at a price. But it's the little things that now bring me those small thrills of excitement, like you used to get as a kid.
So, here are a few of my simple pleasures. Things that make me smile. I'd love to hear yours too.
- Cold walks wrapped in big coats. Watching my breath mist in the air.
- Online shopping arriving (especially when it's something cute for the baby).
- The smell of Christmas candles. Candles in general. Let's be honest, they don't have quite the same effect on long summer evenings.
- My daily gin and tonic once the baby is asleep at 7pm.
- Writing. It's been hard - I've written about 76,000 words now, done over just nine weeks, and am nearly finished with the first draft. But it's so satisfying to be working on something that I feel passionate about.
- My blow fan heater. Economical it may not be, but god that thing brings me joy. #toastytoes
- The baby running around naked before her bath every night and being ridiculously excited about it.
- Getting a decent night's sleep after a year of not doing so. Just waking up and not feeling exhausted is amazing - I will never take sleep for granted again!
- The Missing. I don't watch much telly at all, but this is addictively good and I get very excited when I realise it's Wednesday and there's another episode on.
- Christmas coffees - OK, they are responsible for around half a stone in weight gain each year but still. No one has to see my white flabby thighs, it's winter.
- And on that note... no one has to see my white flabby thighs, it's winter. I don't have to shave my legs every day and faff about with fake tan. Hurrah for low-maintenance beauty.
- The colour of the leaves on the trees outside my office window. It's insanely beautiful. I have tried photographing them but my windows need cleaning and the pictures don't do them justice. Instead, please enjoy these recent pics by my professional photographer sister. Suffice to say, nature beats everything.
Oh god, have I just described hygge? Shoot me now.