Random thoughts on wellbeing

I just finished eating a truly delicious breakfast: avocado omelette, watermelon-ginger-blackberry-peach smoothie, blackberry bran muffin, coffee. I made it all myself! And I feel a good 40% happier than before I ate it.

Tuesdays seem to be easier to handle than Mondays.

Sleep is so key to wellbeing.

I worry a lot about Illyria. My meditation app says that since I started this program I’ve meditated for 18 hours and 28 minutes (although some of that was my husband using it for the sleep meditation). I think it has a net positive effect on my overall baseline happiness level – or, to put it another way, the world feels a little lighter, a little more richly hued, softer, better. I wish I could get my kids to meditate with me more often.

But as I finished this morning’s meditation I felt a physical sensation on my chest, like a heavy flat piece of stone resting on my sternum. In my mind were two pictures of Illyria when she was about a year old, taken by her nanny at the time – “a rare smile!” the nanny had captioned it. Another picture, another day, showed her looking forlornly through the screen door, all melancholy. I think this was closer to her baseline state when she was away from me. Knowing what I know now about attachment, about my daughter’s own particularities, I wonder if I would have done the same thing trying to continue my graduate work after she was born? She still wants me to sleep next to her, she wants me to hold her hand or put my hand on her back as she drifts off to sleep. She wants to see me there when she wakes up in the night.

There are a lot of things I wish I had done differently, but I did the best I could with what I knew at the time.

I once asked a friend in undergrad if he was glad he’d majored in philosophy, since he seemed, I don’t know, pained by it in some way (I later learned more about his personal life that makes me think this pain probably came from our evangelical college’s stances on what we euphemistically called “lifestyle” issues at the time). But he thought for a moment and then said, “I feel glad in the way that you would be glad you had had heart surgery. It’s not something you enjoy, but without it you might die. You need it.”

That notion has stayed with me for a long time. How hard and painful things can be necessary for life, for thriving.

What heart surgery do I need to do today?

Baby Val


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