The privilege of mundanity

by maddie millington-drake ~

I recently re-read Dolly Alderton’s Everything I know about love. I had forgotten how beautifully she writes about her female friendships and how they have taught her more about love than any of her other relationships within her life. I agree and I could happily write an ode to my female friends but another sentence caught my eye and I realised it summed up how I – and I am sure so many of us – felt in lockdown:

‘I thought of the blissful mundanity of life; of what a privilege it was to live it’.

Although I missed the excitement of life, I had really only just become settled in my life post-university and was beginning to find my feet. I was enjoying finally feeling like an adult, of having a regular income that I could spend or splurge as I saw fit. I actually missed the mundanity of it.

I missed going to a self-checkout and being told that there was an unexpected item in the bagging area, waiting for the bus, complaining about waiting for the bus, the walk to work which I never took for granted before but it was boring sometimes, the back and forth with my housemate as we kept forgetting to take the bins out or buy dishwasher salt, I missed forgetting my tupperware and being annoyed about it, and mainly I missed my friends. And I realised how much I took them for granted before, that I just expected I would see them at least once a week and if not then two weeks seemed like forever.

There are a few things that I realised I missed that are not so mundane such as:

People-watching – especially in the office

Relaying highlights of my people-watching to my friends

Not seeing my housemate for a couple of days because we are on different schedules and being excited to find out how she is

The faff of trying to decide where to go for dinner/drinks/meet

Buying a coffee

Being able to speak to my friends and family, genuinely catching up and hearing their news

But I have also been able to cherish moments of lockdown which I know so many people have talked about. I recognise that I am extremely lucky – I have been able to spend time with my family, time that we have never had before. And we didn’t kill each other like so many people ask, I did actually love it. And it is time that we might not get to have again, or maybe we will and each time will be different.

But through missing the mundane intricacies, the day-to-day, the things that make it ‘normal’, I realised that I want to make a conscious effort to not race through life again.

We are always in such a rush but actually the small parts of life are what makes life, life. It can’t be exciting all the time, there are some rubbish, boring and slow parts that I need to learn to accept.

I am a sucker for wanting my life to be like a film, of sitting on the bus and imagining the montage of music and photographic stills that would be playing if it was a brooding moment. I will 100% still do that but I won’t wish the time away.

I want to try to be patient with the mundanity, to sit with it and to let it flow over me instead of hoping it will disappear.