Small Things in Big Times

Finding tiny actions to give the day direction

I have the kind of brain which needs a to do list to get moving in the morning. On bad days it includes things like ‘eat breakfast’ and on good days it includes all the things, but it’s my to do list which yanks me off social media and channels my nervous energy into something which could earn me a tea break.

It’s taken a while to accept that I need to be my own nanny, with a series of tasks and concrete rewards. Turns out, I’m not the wild spirit I always hoped I’d be — I’m a tiny Victorian child in need of discipline.

The current situation means that my to do list has turned into a giant drawing of a shrug.

Photo by Emily Morter on Unsplash

For those no longer working (and, of course, a massive thank you and celebration of those essential workers who are holding the world together right now), it’s taking time to readjust and refocus. There are lots of talks of learning and new skill, creating a new business and transforming your life…and then lots of counter arguments that it’s ok to just stay safe and isolated at the moment.

The truth, as we know really, lies in the middle — doing whatever gets you through the night (safely) and working out a way to live and earn money and panic in this eerie wasteland of normality.

I’ve set aside my initial lofty aspirations for transformative change, and replaced it with the smallest steps I can take to feel better about my day. I started a newsletter which means I need to write a short short story every day, to send to people first thing in the morning to cheer them up. I created that rule, told it to myself in my best nanny voice, and now I will try and stick to it. Even with a tiny number of subscribers, I’m vaguely accountable to someone and might feel like I’m waving out of the window at regular life.

I’m still working through my list of other tiny steps but so far I’m managing to make my bed every day and get dressed in some semblance of something I could leave the house in. You know, if the opportunity arose.

And until our doors creak open and life works out what normal is once more, I’ll keep creating small rules and small stories to wind my way through this crisis which is so so big, and makes life so very very small.

If you’d like to subscribe to Small Rainbows, the newsletter which sends you a short short story to help you ease into your inbox every few days, please click here. It’s not big, it’s not clever, but it’s free and quite pleasant.

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