All the big grocery stores in Europe seem to have at least two sizes of coin operated trolleys. This is moderately convenient until you go to return your trolley and there isn’t any of your kind to attach to and release your coin. It’s one of those “how much is a pound worth to you” questions on whether you persist to another trolley return location or abandon cart and coin.
Yesterday I was standing at a row of grocery trolleys and noticed that someone had solved this dilemma. They had taken their wrong sized trolley, saddled it up perpendicular to the row of other sized trolleys, and stretched the chain just far enough to release their coin. The chain of nesting carts was broken but this geometrically-gifted shopper found a way to leave with her pound. Wa-lah!
I know this isn’t as groundbreaking as something really useful like having your trolley do your shopping for you, but it was one of those things that stood out for it’s simple ingenuity. In my six years of scrambling around for spare change because I’d like more than a hand basket to carry my groceries, I had never seen someone have their coin and tether their ill-fitting cart too. It was only a passing thought but it landed: “See! sometimes the solution is right there, you just have to pivot 180 degrees to see it.”
All Moms chose their furniture carefully. When we moved to London I bought the dining room table of my dreams and the dining room chairs of my reality. They have dark, durable, washable fabric seats. It’s a draw on whether more spot cleaning would be required if my children or hamsters roamed freely.
After the grocery run, I was arranging cascading bowls of fruit on the dining room table hoping to have answered the after school snack question with a visual aid. In that process, I caught sight of my durable fabric seats and decided the ice cream to put away could wait. I mean how much ground in chocolate can one Mom survive? As I started to wipe down the seats, watching them magically look like new again, another thought attempted landing: “Just like you.”
Kind of vague, honestly, but this was a situation where the possibility of negative thinking was ripe and so why complain for lack of clarity.
That thought was unspecific enough that I didn’t think much of it until later when I was washing up. I noticed a new hand soap at the sink. Now I don’t have a hand soap fairy but I do buy in bulk at TK Maxx and so it caught me off guard when I saw the label on the new soap: Rinse + Repeat. Incoming: “Just like you … all things are made new …over and over again.”
Take in that thought on its second try and add in the smell of coconut and jasmine and you have yourself a little buzz.
Yesterday was also my son’s 16th birthday. That by itself is a special day but then I showed up for my spinning class and realized I’d blindly signed up for bike number 16. In case you need more information to be moved by this coincidence, there are 53 bikes and I had never ridden bike number 16.
Some might still say “yeah, so…” (some of those people live in my house!) but when you are about 30 minutes into your workout and the endorphins are going, and you think about the beautiful life that was birthed out of your body 16 years ago, and you feel that older but still able body crushing it on bike number 16, and in comes the thought: “your body is a temple” accompanied with not just a buzz but pure pleasure … well, you believe it.
It wasn’t a newsworthy day. No personal productivity records were set. I didn’t make any money and spent very little of it. I didn’t accidentally bump into Russell Brand in my neighbourhood and have that imaginary conversation I’ve been planning. No, none of that. But when I hit the pillow last night and felt that quiet peace that envelopes you in the dark, it was confirmation that it had been a very good day indeed.
We think we want what people flaunt - power, prosperity, fame - when really our deeper needs are much more understated and accessible: knowing that an a-ha moment might be right around the corner, the chance to start again and experiencing the thrill of living in your own sanctuary.