The Purple of Life

She told me to hold on to the purple in my life.

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Location: Chicago, United States

I'm a 37-year-old editor and city dweller, wife and mother, moderately liberal and radically optimistic. I would fill my perfect day with a cup of coffee and the Op Ed section, a flea market and the playground, a run along Lake Michigan, a walk through the neighborhood with my son and my greyhound, a Cuban dinner and a bottle of red with my husband, and an evening flight to some European city. I wouldn't be picky about which one.

February 10, 2010


It’s the only word I can think of that describes how I feel during January and February. I am not sad, really, nor am I depressed. I don’t feel an unrelenting blueness for days on end. But I do feel saddish on some days… a little melancholy, a little like there’s a dark cloud overhead, a weight. It starts after the New Year, and I expect it to clear right around March 14, when daylight saving time begins. Because then, then, when I get home it will still be light out. And that feels like a key.

There’s the winter darkness, and there’s John’s absence, too. I’ve been married to a CPA for more than eight years, so I know the drill come tax season. Nothing is surprising about it. I’m a person who enjoys alone time, but still, there’s a lot of alone time this time of year, and a lot of inflexibility around John’s job. I suppose the best part is that Friday nights truly feel like “date nights”—we go out for dinner and talk and laugh and catch up, and it’s special, somehow, in a way that isn’t often the case when you’ve been married this long. So thanks for that, tax season, I guess!

I turned 34 a few weeks ago, and I took this photo of myself on my birthday. That week was a good one—weeknight drinks with friends, a fun dinner downtown with John, shopping, blond brownies homemade by Mom. I made a concerted effort to focus on the good stuff. I felt happy about myself, my new age, what that new age will bring.

Our days can’t all be presents and brownies and nights out, obviously, but sometimes life does feel very run-of-the-mill, doesn’t it? The routine can be stifling. The same bowl of cereal, closet of clothes, walk to the el. The same issues at work. The same commute home. Unlocking the door, turning off the alarm, leashing up the dog for her walk in the dark. Struggling against eating the whole box of Triscuits before heading to the gym. Home again, cooking dinner, washing all the dishes. Maybe watching TV, maybe doing some editing, then “The Daily Show,” shower-floss-toothpaste-moisturizer-bed. The same thing the next day.

I don’t want to wish away time, even dark, wintry time. This is the only February 10 of my 34th year that I’m going to get. So lately, I’ve been trying to notice the small flares of brightness and beauty in each day, because they’re there, and they deserve to be savored. Once I start thinking about it, it’s not hard to find them. I may try recording some of them here. Yesterday, a really heartening and cheerful conversation with my doc during my checkup. Homemade chipotle mac-and-cheese at lunch. Stella spying a dark cat running across the snowy sidewalk, her ears pointed straight up like antennae. The neighborhood greystones glowing in the deep silent snow. A mug of peppermint hot cocoa after dinner. There may not be a lot of light to illuminate the good things at this time of year, but the good things are still there.

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Blogger Kris said...

I feel the same way this time of year. It's good to focus on the positive things, no matter how small.

6:38 PM  
Blogger Stephanie said...

Saddishness is such a great term for right now. Nothing's wrong, exactly, yet there are hardly any days when I feel the great good fortune of being alive that I feel, say, in May, when I'm driving at dusk with the window down or walking outside in the sunshine.

BTW, I'll be accompanying my husband to your fair city for his convention at the end of the month. Any chance an accounting widow wants to meet a dental widow for breakfast/coffee/shopping/lunch? I'll e-mail you when we return from our Disney adventure!

1:23 PM  

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