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An Essay About How To Salvage Your Mediocre Day

Today is a mediocre day. I woke up and felt tired even though I got a full night’s sleep. I thought about the day ahead, about everything I had to do, about how excited I got last night when I put my to-do list together – imagining how productive I would be today – and then today I woke up and was tired and didn’t want to do anything.

It was a standard Monday morning kind of feeling, one that I know affects many or most of my peers. But this Monday morning kind of feeling was just a little bit more mediocre and blah than normal – it was a little bit more of that “I am desperate to find purpose today and I don’t know where to start.”

So I grasped for the things I could get out of my way that would need my brain the least. I read work emails and answered work emails. I paid a doctor’s bill. I brainstormed things to write even though half the headlines ended halfway through with me saying “ehhh, this isn’t anything.” I ate breakfast and counted that as being productive. I opened a new box of tissues and counted that as being productive. I took one of the tissues and blew my nose and then said “wooh, needed that!” to my cat and counted that as being productive.

And now it’s time to write and I’m just sitting here thinking about how mediocre I feel and how mediocre this day is. About how I can’t think of anything to write and I feel heavy with the weight of having been ‘doing things’ and yet having created nothing. I feel cranky about the fact that I’m lacking in ideas. I feel cranky about the fact that this isn’t an actual hardship. I feel cranky that my life is not difficult today and yet I’m trying to make it seem that way. Today is a mediocre day.

So what do you do with a mediocre day? This day is 1/365 of your entire year. You can choose to look at that as a trivial fraction or you can choose to make it worth it anyways, even halfway through the day or in the last four hours of the day.

Right now I still feel like I’m swimming in the middle of this mediocre day. But instead of just swimming to stay afloat, I’m trying to swim to the ladder right now so I can climb out of this thick vat full of uninspired elements. Perhaps it would be faster to just swim to the wall and roll out that way, but I need the ladder because I am unathletic and this is the safest way for me to get out of the pool. This last part is not a metaphor, it’s just a way for me to throw a self-deprecating joke (my fave) into this fun lil’ rumination I’m having.

So, the things I do to get to the ladder (a brilliant and complex metaphor for having a productive day) is by doing really unextraordinary things that I know will still get me where I need to go. Like writing down all these irritating thoughts camping out in my brain so that they’re on paper and I can have more space in my head for thinking about writerly things (mostly, the things I write down are bullet points for my to-do list). I put on a turtle neck and throw my hair back into a ‘do that makes it look like I tried harder than I did (this makes me feel like I put effort into my appearance today). I leave my apartment and go to a cafe. I pick a bright one that has big windows, a nice staff, productive seat mates, and some killah clam chowdah. And then I write this essay in little teeny tiny bits even though I hate it the whole time and I keep saying “this isn’t anything.”

But now it’s something, even if it’s stupid. Because it’s eight paragraphs so far and that’s something. And I got some frustrating thoughts out of my head and that’s something. And I made a couple jokes for my own amusement and that’s something. I used the word ‘do instead of hairdo and I’ve never done that before so it made me hate myself a little bit but also it’s just a funny-sounding thing to say so I made myself smile for a hot sec and that’s something. And I called this day mediocre and that makes it feel less overwhelming or frustrating or powerful and that’s something.

And now, I’ve spent a decent amount of time writing this piece and saying “this sucks” the whole time but now it’s finished and I wrote a piece so even if it sucks, I created something, which has eased the crankiness I felt earlier. So today feels like it started as a mediocre day, but now it’s not that anymore. This day is a day that is 1/365 of my year, and it has become worth it and it’s still worth it. So now I can celebrate with some killah clam chowdah, and then spend the rest of the day swimming out of the mediocrity and into something more interesting. Today is an interesting day.