What Did You Do Today?

Family by Jay Leblanc

Family by Jay Leblanc

No doubt you’ve been asked, perhaps by a partner, an acquaintance, your own child returning from school: “What did you do today?”

Maybe you have asked yourself: What have I done today? What have I achieved?

How do you respond?

“I sold two paintings.”

“I closed a deal.”

“I ran 10K.”

Do you respond with the big things we tend to count as true accomplishments or the smaller things, the hundreds of smaller things we do every day?

“I made coffee, fed the cat, took out the garbage and washed the kitchen bin, put in a load of laundry, helped three boys make their breakfast, swept Rice Chex off the floor, wiped jam from the chair backs, unloaded and reloaded the dishwasher, made three (different) school lunches, and pumped a flat bike tire… all before 8 am.”

Not world-changing.

Not glamourous.

Sometimes not even noticed.

But necessary.

We “do” so much as mothers, caregivers, partners, working women. Our days are filled with accomplishments both monumental and mundane. For some we receive, or allow ourselves recognition; for many we do not. For some we feel satisfaction and pride; for others guilt, resentment or sheer boredom.

We invite you to keep track—for an hour, a day, a week—of what you do. Not a “to-do” but an “I’ve-done” list. Send your list to Understorey and we will publish it on our new blog (anonymously, if you prefer). See our contact page for addresses.

In his book Material World, Peter Menzel documented possessions; households around the world were emptied onto the street and photographed. In What I Eat, Menzel and Faith D’Aluisio documented the daily food intake of people from diverse cultures and backgrounds. And in Where Children Sleep, James Mollison captured the sad and startling places children rest at night.

In a similar way, the “I’ve done” lists are meant as art of the everyday, a literary gallery of the number and diversity of womens’ daily achievements. The lists are also a way for all women—writers and non-writers, from Nova Scotia and away—to contribute to the magazine. Not a competition but a celebration. Not a challenge but a small tribute to ourselves and each other.

I hope to hear from you.


PS. Need inspiration? See recently posted lists by Linda Roe, Lesley Crewe, Sheila Morrison, and Su Rogers. But remember, you don’t have to provide your name!

About Katherine Barrett

Katherine Barrett is Understorey Magazine’s founder and editor in chief.

About Jay Leblanc

Jay Leblanc writes: "My art is largely influenced by, and reflective of, the natural surroundings of the southwestern Nova Scotia shoreline; specifically the Acadian region of Baie Ste. Marie. As an artist, female, somewhat Anglophone, slightly Francophone, repatriated Acadian, living in “mid-life” where the sea and the stars are so plainly visible, the exploration of themes including archetypal, cultural, and metaphysical is essential. Life affords many wonderful mediums for explorations. Colors and pieces seem to assemble themselves, surprising, as they become a finished form.The process and product provide clues to our existential nature. So I continue my serious play." See more of Jay's work here.

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