Today I came across a poem called Prayer, by Helen Mort, which begins:
Give us good days
Days unspectacular but adequate
The weather neither calm nor wild
Your coat zipped nearly to the top
That fourth line stuck with me, and I turned it in my head as I reflected – of course – on life here in Dili. I laughed with an expat friend at lunch today over how vastly the image of living overseas our pre-move anxieties conjured for us differs from reality: where I was fretting myself silly about life abroad before leaving Melbourne, I’ve slipped comfortably into quite a boring real-life routine now that I’m here, and the days, I have to say, are nice – but unremarkable.
Which is a good thing. I’ve written about how inclined I am to fuss and busyness, and how tropical island stillness definitely isn’t my default. Give me a lurching Fitzroy tram or a brisk Floreat onshore over the gentle bobbing of a dry palm frond any day – which is why it’s so good that I’m here; exhaling. Eyes wide but sitting still. Neither calm nor wild.
A thought crossed my mind at lunch as we laughed – a digestible idea observed by Gretchen Rubin (patron saint of us Type-As everywhere) in her book, The Happiness Project. “The days are long, but the years are short.” As good as it is to visit the same coffee shops, wake up at the same time, visit the same tabs, peel the same sweet potatoes into the same sink, smile in the same unending sunshine; to lean into this quiet life, I don’t want to forget to seek remarkable days, endure terrible ones, believe in new ones; to unzip my jacket, just because I’ve got my eyes closed and my face turned to this quiet suburban sun.
And where you touch the rock
Your fingers hold
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