"Tell me what to write," I said.
"About sunshine and walks," he said.
So here we are.
I recently celebrated the first anniversary of moving to Tennessee and living on my own. This time last year, I was just starting to find a good rhythm with my grandparents—a happy balance of enjoying their company and helping them in small, everyday ways. I was in a blind panic to find a job before my parents' generosity expired. I was already loving the warmer weather, the extra sunshine in the longer days, and the freedom of spending most those days however I wanted to.
As the days and months passed by, I developed my own routines. Routines became habits, habits became myth, and for two and a half thousand years, the Ring passed out of all knowledge. (I promise I'll update the @LOTR account before I hit my two-year anniversary in Tennessee.)
But the traditions I've developed here really have become some of my favorite memories.
I love Saturdays with my grandparents. We share breakfast and do crossword puzzles while my laundry spins in the background. I drive my grandparents to the grocery store and treat myself to a drink at Starbucks while I wait. Back at their house, I fill pill boxes with medicines and vitamins for the week before driving home with my clean laundry, happy tummy, and joyful heart.
The rest of the week is no less magical. I spend Friday nights on the phone with my mom, continuing our decade-long tradition of binge-eating, watching Gilmore Girls, and decompressing before the weekend. Every Sunday morning, my grandpa (whose dementia was compounded by a stroke last year) compliments me on how I find a good parking spot in the so-early-it's-still-empty church parking lot. Twice a week, I sit in a waiting room and read a book for twenty minutes while I wait to see if my body will have a wild reaction to my allergy shots. On weekdays, I wake up at the crack of dawn to make sure the posts for Stories from the Trenches are ready to publish before I set about making coffee and breakfast, picking out an outfit, and getting ready (at my new vanity!) for my day job. At night, I clean or dance or do yoga or read books or pester my boyfriend for blog post ideas.
And on very warm and very sunny days like today, I set out for a walk in the park behind my house. There is a beautifully maintained walking trail throughout the park, and my favorite bit winds through the woods and alongside a river. (Bonus features: tiny waterfall, tiny bridge, Tolkien-esque ruins of a stone dam.) It's the perfect excuse to close those dang activity rings on my Apple Watch and work my way through a major backlog of podcast episodes. It's also the perfect time to think about how grateful I am to have routines that bring me closer to people I love, that allow me to do things I love, and that leave me with filled with joy.