Our Days Are Built With Stories

As many of you get ready to embark on Week In The Life™, I want you to think about this statement:

Our days are built with stories. 

Often when I begin documenting my week I'm hyperfocused on writing down the schedule of our day. Stuff like the times we get up, the times we eat, the time I leave the house to take the kids to school and the time I return home to sit at my desk.

I still plan to do that to some extent this year, but as I alluded to in my post earlier this week, I also really want to be conscious and intentional about the micro-stories that make up a day or seven in a row (remember that was a term Aaron first used wwith me when he was talking about what he wanted to remember from our Dave Matthews adventure).

Each of our daily actions is often just the tip of a story pyramid. Those of you who took my Hello Story class are familiar with the concept I focus on in that workshop which is simply this, "tell me more."

Tell me more about the why. Tell me more about the who and the where and the what. Don't just tell me you had a cup of coffee, tell me what you had in it or what you left out. Give me more details that will paint a clearer picture of the life you are living right now.

And then give a little more.

Consider these stories:

The story of why you wake up to an alarm on your iphone at 5:45am each morning. The story of why you wake up at different times each day, rarely following a set routine. The story of how your child runs into your bedroom regularly (at least for the last week) in the middle of the night for comfort from the fierce monsters in the dark.

The story of how your 12 year old now makes his own breakfast each morning but you still pour cereal (dry with no milk most days) for your 5 year old.

The story of why you drive each kid separatlely to school in the morning and how you treasure the time in between drop-offs when you get to select the noise in the car (NPR, please).

The story of why you don't exercise. The story of why you do and how that fits into your day. The story of how you think about it every day but still don't choose to put yourself first.

The story of how you take your coffee and how you hate those little disposable plastc cups in your single-serve coffee maker but how you love a hot cup each and every time.

The story of the moments of longing you feel at random points throughout the day. For something different, for something complete, for something you once had (or think you did).

The story of the moments of gratitude that pull you out of the mental funk - where you literally shake your head as a means of erasing the mental spiral.

The story of how you walk into your office building each day and are, like clockwork, greeted by the same older gentlemen who looks you in the eye and smiles or who barely acknowledges your existence.

The story of why you often skip lunch or why you eat the same thing at the same time each and every day.

The story of the things on your desk. Bills to be paid. Invoices to be filed. Hand-drawn ideas to be added to the bigger list. Lists piled on other lists, some things crossed off with a thick black pen, others with a thin red marker, but many simply waiting.

The story of your commute. In the car. On the bus. On the train. Is it long or short or beautiful or do you wish it away for some other life?

The story of the things you are working on - work stuff, life stuff. What's rattling around in your brain during these seven days in your life? What is consuming you? What do you wish you were consumed with?

The story of how you walked past a family in the grocery store, smiled at the Mom as she wrangled a toddler into the cart, and wondered what their lives were like.

The story of what you are reading. The story of what you are watching. The story of how you have so very little time for either. The story of how Candy Crush is your saving grace after a long day of stress and arguments and discomfort.

The story of waiting for your oldest child in the parking lot of the middle school and saying a silent prayer for a report of a good day, a happy smile, a sparkle in his eyes, a conversation - however brief or rote.

The story of homework, or the lack of, and a comparison to your experience growing up.

The story of how multiple times throughout the day you quickly contemplate dinner options but never settle on anything specific until the kids are past the point of needing to be fed and how you decide that popcorn, cheddar chesse and apples is always a very good idea.

The story of how your daughter recounts her kindergarten day in all it's glory and how the cast of characters seems to multiply exponentially as each day goes by.

The story of the hilarious amounts of junk mail you receive and how it's a sign of the times we live in.

The story of how your cat plops down on the hardwood floor after a long day adventuring around the neighborhood and meows until you rub his belly.

The story of why you chose one path instead of another on your evening walk becuase you know one includes more flowers.

The story of what's in your refridgerator and how you feel about it. Do you care a lot about what you eat or a little? Do you plan all your meals in advance or fly by from moment to moment? Is there very litttle in there because you regularly eat out? What's your favorite snack to reach for right now and why. Tell me more.

The story of your lonliness.

The story of your exuberant joy.

The story of your current fears and how on particularly bad days you imagine you are the only person on the planet with these fears and on particularly good days you know they ebb and flow and you'll work through them just like most other people do.

The story of the movie of the day, carefully selected via a negoation betweeen the 5 year old and the 12 year old.

The story of how you drink decaf tea with a touch of milk at the kitchen table after the rest of the family has gone to bed and how you give thanks for the real life you lived today.

What stories will you tell next week? 

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95 thoughts

  1. scrapowl says…

    So inspiring. Thanks a lot for sharing, Ali. <3

    Reply 0 Replies
  2. CEEC331234 says…

    Ya! Some of own stories, and then there's the stories of other people. Those are the best ones! Right?

    Reply 0 Replies
  3. ChristyBridwell says…

    Three an a half years later and this post made me cry again. I honestly don't know how to express the gratitude I have for you, Ali. Thank you for reminding me to really BE in my life, to notice it all, to take it all in.

    Reply 0 Replies