When Your Day Is An Off-Day

I suspect the truth is that most people have off-days like this sometimes. Even on Fridays:

Thursday evening ends up something like this:

“What should I write about for tomorrow?” I ask the family. "I want to tell a story."

“Write about our fairy gardens!”

“Oh, how about the fun time we had at the pool?”

“I think I’m just too tired to write anything tonight. I’ll wait until tomorrow and hope I find the time,” I reply.

Friday morning arrives:

I unexpectedly find myself with time on my hands. I’ve got a sick little one to care for. I make tea and… stare out the window at the falling rain.

I still can’t think of anything to write about and find myself daydreaming about a getaway somewhere with just my husband- it has been a long time since we’ve had any quality alone time together.

“Maybe the beach,” I think. The first time we felt a connection is when we walked on a beach together collecting shells and talking about our love of beach-combing. Josh asked me to hold his watch while he washed the sand off our shell collection. I don’t know why I remember the part about the watch. Maybe because I had found someone who cared about details, too: the watch was a gift from his family.

“I think I mostly enjoy the act of treasure-hunting with someone who shares my love for it. We could do that anywhere. But a beach still sounds good,” I conclude.

My life is fairly boring. I’m pretty much okay with that 90% of the time. Today, though, I am restless. There’s that itch to go places, explore, be alive in a different setting.

I consult some friends on my writer’s block. Many suggestions later, I realize I am story blocked because I’m trying to escape the present.

Maybe it’s the rain. Maybe it’s the month turning over. Maybe it’s the change of plans at the last minute.

I go outside for some quiet time. The children follow me. They want to color with sidewalk chalk. I don’t mind their presence but I really do want to be alone. I watch as they make up games that are a variation on hopscotch and tic-tac-toe.

My husband joins me at the bistro table on the front porch. He’s made me some tea. We sit and chat about old times, about possibilities, about anything that comes to mind. Life feels less unstable as we sit and dream together.

A neighbor comes outside and sets up a painting project on her driveway. It begins to rain, and she looks exasperated. Her dog wags its tail sympathetically as she retreats to the garage.

One of the children goes inside and comes out with an umbrella. Four children try to fit under it. The rain isn’t more than a drizzle.

I go inside, determined to write. I sit down and… my tea is cold.

“Perhaps if I go upstairs to my room, I will find space to get started.” Forgetting that the kids will probably follow me, I warm up my tea and gather my laptop and accessories.

I close the bedroom door, make my bed, stack some pretty pillows on it, and open up the computer once more. There is still nothing begging to be written about. My son interrupts looking for something only I can locate, apparently. 

I return to my laptop. I begin to write anyway without the spark I hoped for. It is just one of those days.

It could happen to anyone, right? And... it’s not a sad story. It’s a human story. The one that shows that not every day is dynamic. Not every idea is in easy reach. No guarantees. Just the faithfulness of showing up to do what I know I’m meant to in the very best way I know how. I can, perhaps, find rest in this lull. 

What do you know? My tea is cold again!

While I warm it up, I’ll hand over the invisible mic. What kinds of things do you know you’re meant for in the very best of ways even when they’re challenging? How do you deal with the off days? (Be good to your self in your answer.)

Much love. Happy off-day if you’re having one too, and happy Friday in any case!


Jamie Bagley