Today, I had to do a lot of very, very ordinary things. I did all those horrid jobs that I had been putting off, like getting all the final numbers for my tax return. I am the Queen of the Procrastinators. They should give me a special crown. I read all those articles about how to get things done, and obviously because I am reading about getting things done instead of getting things done I never get anything done. I have lately embarked on a classic mid-life crisis self-improvement programme. I’m really getting the trick of turning negative thoughts into positive thoughts and facing one’s human fears and all that malarkey. And yet I still seem incapable of getting off my procrastinating throne. This is a fairly melancholy reflection when I’m about to be fifty-one. Fifty-one. Surely I should be a grown-up by now?
Of course, the job that I dreaded most turned out to be perfectly easy and fairly painless. I got it done in about half an hour. I’d spend a month worrying about it and putting it off and then I took half an hour to do it. The tax return had hovered over me like an evil spirit and then - poof! - it was gone. All that fuss, all that angst, and in the end it was just a bit of adding up.
Anything to do with money makes me feel incredibly stupid and inadequate. I think of all the people out there who appear to understand it and who keep notes about incomings and outgoings and who are responsible about their bank statements. I just close my eyes every time it comes to paying the hay bill. So I dreaded the tax return like you dread the dentist. And then, it wasn’t so scary after all. My venture into self-publishing also turned out to bring in more than I had thought. Actual humans are out there buying my actual books, despite the fact that I have no talent for self-promotion and a morbid British fear of anything that might look like blowing one’s own trumpet. The hay bill will be paid for another winter.
The farrier came, which was the lovely part of the day. We stood outside in the bitter wind and the glancing sunshine and spoke about horses and hooves. The red mare, who does not need to be held for the farrier, whom she loves, stood immaculately, entirely untethered, and went into her little dreamy trance. I feel ridiculously proud when she does this. What a treat she must be for the farrier, I think, every single time. I don’t care about the mud and the cold and the hay bill, because I can watch this magnificent horse being her magnificent self, beaming her Zen waves of peace into a grateful world.
A friend came to help me pick up the piles of dung and we collected crap and talked about the meaning of life and laughed quite a lot.
And then I went home and wrote 2709 words of my new secret project.
It was the most unremarkable, most ordinary of days. I live a very small and ordinary life. I had rather stopped doing the blog because the smallness and the ordinariness seemed too absurdly unimportant to write down. Those poor Dear Readers, I thought. I must wait until I’ve got something big to say. The months and weeks went by. The Big remained elusive.
I’m returning now to the small. I like recording the tiny joys that nestle in the ordinary. My ambitions have changed so much as I’ve got older that now I think if I can make one person laugh on one day, then that day is not wasted. The farrier laughed, and my friend with the dung laughed, and the red mare would have laughed if she could. I bloody well got my tax return together. I wrote words which until this morning did not exist.
Don’t write a day off, I think to myself, merely because it did not have anything vast or meaningful in it. I start to believe that finding meaning in the very, very small may be the secret to life.