December 27– Ordinary Joy. Our most profound joy is most often experienced during ordinary moments. What was one of your most joyful ordinary moments this year?
The frenzied typing of a term paper would slow and eventually stop. The last dishes from the dinner meal would be dried and put away. The TV would fall silent after playing the preview for next week’s episode of [fill in the guiltiest pleasure reality TV show]. And from all corners of a charming second floor Uptown apartment, my roommates and I (and often Roommate 2.0- one of the boyfriends) would gather around the most sacred space our combine student loans could afford: the kitchen counter. Every night, between 8 and 10 pm (or whenever the last roommate navigated the tiny front stairwell after a long day of class), the three/four of us would sit on the $10 kitchen stools in the bluest of blue kitchens and have our “kitchen counter pow wow.”
At the time, they didn’t seem anything special. They weren’t even really a scheduled event. But somehow, a block of time– at least 30 minutes– found its way between class schedules, long nights at work, piles of homework, and social engagements. And this time, sometimes stretching hours and going way past bedtime on a school night, is the time I got to know my roommates best. Sometimes we just talked about our day: how great/awful our classes were, the weirdos on the bus, a planned 8 mile run that turned into 3 miles and a latte instead. Sometimes we talked about more serious things: heartbreak, how we imagined our future lives, things that scared us, things we were excited about. Sometimes we watched YouTube videos so many times we could quote them for months following. One time we broke into “MmBop” by Hanson. Always we appreciated knowing that someone was checking in to make sure we were each okay, all separated from our families by the drive to earn post-grad degrees. Always we appreciated the different views each of us brought to the kitchen counter.
Each night I understood these women better than the night before, each night our friendship became stronger, each night we laughed, and each night we made an unspoken commitment that no matter how crazy our lives got, there was always time to say “Hey, I am thinking about you and I hope you had a good day.”