The day after I was invited to 10 Downing Street, I found myself back at work in a cold office in Oxford.
I wasn’t greeted by a homecoming of excited faces, dying to hear how it went.
All that awaited me was a pile of work that had built up while I was away.
I had that same “anti-climax” feeling after a life-changing trip to Cape Town, when I spent hours sorting out the council tax for my new flat.
Or when I was published in a magazine for the first time, and bought a copy up before walking in the pouring rain to a dreaded day job.
Up down. Up down. Ebbs. Flows. Earthquakes. Tremors. Tidal waves. Ripples. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat.
I’ve spent so many years focusing on infrequent, fleeting moments. The Facebook-worthy happenings, the holidays, the shiny happy photos.
And where did that leave me?
Miserable, of course. And pretty unfulfilled. If my day-to-day life has been a movie, it would have been set to a chorus of “is that all there is?”
That is, until a few months ago, when I embarked on an experiment to try and change my mindset for the better.
Here’s what I learnt:
As I write this, I’m sat in a substandard cafe in a bleak North London suburb. I’ve been waiting three hours for my car to be serviced and can think of a million other ways I’d rather spend my Saturday morning.
And yet. And yet. And yet.
I have fresh water. The Wi-Fi is working (important) and I’m able to afford whatever mediocre cakes I fancy.
I can remember a time when that wasn’t always the case.
“We waste so many days waiting for the weekend. So many nights wanting morning. Our lust for future comfort is the biggest thief of life.” — Joshua Glenn Clark.
You don’t need to be part of a great romance to be in love with your life.
You don’t need to be doing exciting things to enjoy the every day.
You don’t even need to have an “exciting life”, by anyone’s standards.
As long as you’re actively finding ways to discover magic in the seemingly mundane things, that’s really all that matters.
Because the little moments count so much more than we think.
And, if you ask me, the real key to contentment is to be curious about everything.
Embrace dull conversations as a source of creativity. Approach your next meal like an enthusiastic child at dinnertime. Turn your next walk into an exploration of your local area. Think of your next commute as an opportunity to come up with ideas for a new project.
This world, our world, is full of seemingly ordinary things that are full of complex beauty and wonder.
Amazing, awe-inspiring and unexpected things really are all around you, if you’re willing to look a little closer. That feeling of enchantment can be found in your day-to-day life. So be present and pay attention to your surroundings.
Tilt your head up. Look up at the sky. Embrace the moon. Feel enchanted by the blue hues. Breathe and realise that you’re here and you’re alive.
The world in your mind is your masterpiece. It’s time to start curating it.