There are non-negotiables in my life. What I know is I adore morning silence, the undeniable quiet reminds me how waking up isn’t to be taken for granted. As I enter midlife, I’ve learned to be thankful when I get a good night’s sleep. It’s these ordinary, everyday gifts that thrill me. A morning hug from my daughter, a meaningful exchange with my husband, a conversation with my mom or sister and the chance to run among the mountains offers a contentment which lingers. I’ve come to accept the smallness of my life – spending afternoons helping my daughter with homework, family dinner in the evenings, chauffeuring and witnessing my little girl’s development through her pursuits of tennis, basketball and dance. Some evenings the three of us will occupy the same room, reading the books we adore or acting silly together. I love setting the cadence of my life and relish the certainty of this routine. I also recognize the power in the instant. One event, one moment, one second possesses the power to shift the balance. It’s the realization that time is infinite, but my life and circumstances are apt to change at any moment.

This morning I was reminded of this fact as I drove my daughter to school. We usually start the day with music. The catchy tunes of Bieber echoed in my car as I drove on the highway. I maneuvered through the traffic and as I turned into another lane, a vehicle decided to make the same lane change as me. But at the last minute, he pulled back, skirting ahead, weaving and speeding into another accessible space. I sighed aloud, knowing it was a close one. It’s those kind of seconds that pull things back into focus and push you to relish whatever forms the anthem of your life.

For me, it means, having the time to read a book, uninterrupted. I’ve long believed that if you don’t have the opportunity to travel, you must educate yourself by submerging yourself in a book. I relish a block of time when I can write, whether it is in this space, a new essay or parts of my manuscript. Writing is one of of the loves of my life and when my thoughts unravel on the page, I not only sense relief, but deep comfort. Talking less and listening more is becoming another way I am living my life. I learn more when I make room for someone else. Having the last word isn’t important. It’s listening. It is a form of affirmation not only for me, but for those that I love. Laughing is another thread I adore, but don’t do enough. It is vital that I take myself less seriously –  the easiest way to get there? Laughing with others and at myself.

Looking up at the sky has become a daily mantra. Every single time I capture the various hues, the shadows and the light, I am surprised. It’s a meditation of sorts, the reminder to look up and pay attention of the depth and width of the universal. I never doubt the vastness of the world. It’s incomprehensible and grand, reminding me of the poetry of the earth.

My anthem lives in the ordinary. It’s a piecemeal of moments I string together everyday: sitting at my desk working, writing notes in my journal, tucking my daughter in at night, watching Downton Abbey with my husband, reflecting on a memory of my father with my sister, texting my mother about the Superbowl, laughing with a good friend and looking up and down, recognizing the simultaneous smallness and vast terrain of my life.