HOW I SUNDAY: ISSUE 9
by Madison Russell
When you grow up in a place as insular and alluring as a tiny beach town, you react in one of two ways: either, you embrace coastal living and take up a local job to satiate your cost of expenses, or you rebel entirely, dreaming of a greater and more fulfilling life. I knew by the age of thirteen that my hometown island just wasn’t going to cut it.
Seeking magic has become a bit of a pastime and a life compass. I strive to find it in the glimmer of light on a New York City brownstone’s windows, at the bottom of a really good cup of coffee, in the eyes of my rescue dog, in a 10-foot Christmas tree covered in Build a Bears that I won in a raffle (I was, like, 10 and it was cool, okay?), anywhere and everywhere. So how did I get here?
I’ve been living in New York City since 2011. I sought an opportunity to spread my wings and got accepted at a prestigious art boarding high school in Michigan. I distinctly remember discussing Shakespeare’s sonnets in my audition (I was 14). I knew I wanted to be in New York City as soon as humanly possible, and culminated a lifetime of hard work into a spot in the performing arts department at a great college. I’ve hit the pavement every day since to create a big, bright, beautiful existence that tiny me used to dream of.
Today, my perfect day looks a little something like this:
Wake up to banana chocolate chip pancakes delivered from The Dish, a little diner that I’ve never even seen in Chelsea, but that is a frequent Seamless order.
Roll over to find my love of all loves, Kyle, and our fur baby Talullah. She can often be found on top of our head or wedged between our legs, so it’s never hard to locate her.
Indulge in this warm, delicious world that we’ve created (see what I mean, CREATED), and relish in the splendor.
Venture to our favorite coffee shop for the world’s most perfect drink; a cortado. With equal parts espresso and steamed milk, it is actually called THE MAGIC in Australia. I mean, come on. You can drink a cup of actual magic on the daily. Sign me up.
For some unknown reason, the very thought of spending a day with my dog Talullah literally brings tears to my eyes. I cry as I type this right now. I’m insane. Insanely in love with my rescue dog who proves to me daily that with the right perspective, anyone can find magic in the mundane. Clearly, she gets to come along on Sunday.
If a Sunday doesn’t include a brunch, it didn’t really happen. We have a list of favorite spots, all cozy, somewhat healthy, that we rotate. If you care to know what they are, shoot me an email or DM, but I’ll spare you the details here. The location isn’t really what this is meant to be about. Finding those two hours of zero screen time to look across at the man who I choose to create my life with, spend my future with, and love unabashedly, is the greatest reset you could hope for.
Honestly, at this point, I probably go get another cup of coffee. This time, it may be cold brew though.
Every Sunday at 6pm, I attend a yin yoga session at a studio that feels like home. I’m to the point where the second I touch the mat in this space, I can begin to practice ultimate mindfulness. What a treat.
By 7pm, I’m grocery shopping for the week ahead. (It’s so funny that I’m writing this for you to see, hey? Do you care at all? When do you grocery shop? I feel like this conversation is too one-sided, and I want to know more about you.)
Every single evening, I take a one-hour bath. Yes, you read that correctly. Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, every single day of the week. It’s an hour of uninterrupted magic time, cultivated exclusively for me. How luxe. There are candles, face masks, body scrubs, you name it.
Now that it’s so incredibly late in the evening and my bed time is strictly 10:30pm, it’s time for some snuggles and Netflix (which of course also means Hulu, HBO Go, Amazon Prime, and so forth). I lower the blinds, tidy off surfaces (a cleared table or shelf is so lovely for a new week ahead), and set an alarm for the morning. What a good Sunday we’ve had.
I don’t want to inspire you to copy my Sunday routine, but rather to push you to create your own. You deserve it. You have a right to be here, on this planet, and to create big, bold magic. If you need candles, kimonos, crystals, fresh cut flowers, cortados, furry rescue dogs, banana chocolate chip pancakes, and a stroll in the park to create that moment for yourself (I definitely do), then please grant yourself that space. If you prefer playing sports and camping in the wilderness, or writing or journaling or whatever it takes to make you believe weekly that you can create the life of your wildest dreams, please do that.
I don’t want to sell you products, or tell you which places to eat brunch, or pitch you on an idea that if you do X, Y and Z, you’ll find happiness. That just simply isn’t the case.
You’ve got to dig down deep into what your great big, fulfilling life looks like for you and hustle until it has happened.
I want to leave you with some words that changed my life when I first heard them. They’re from Max Ehrmann and the piece is called “Desiderata”.
Go placidly amid the noise and haste,
and remember what peace there may be in silence.
As far as possible without surrender
be on good terms with all persons.
Speak your truth quietly and clearly;
and listen to others,
even the dull and the ignorant;
they too have their story.
Avoid loud and aggressive persons,
they are vexations to the spirit.
If you compare yourself with others,
you may become vain and bitter;
for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.
Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.
Keep interested in your own career, however humble;
it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.
Exercise caution in your business affairs;
for the world is full of trickery.
But let this not blind you to what virtue there is;
many persons strive for high ideals;
and everywhere life is full of heroism.
Especially, do not feign affection.
Neither be cynical about love;
for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment
it is as perennial as the grass.
Take kindly the counsel of the years,
gracefully surrendering the things of youth.
Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune.
But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings.
Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.
Beyond a wholesome discipline,
be gentle with yourself.
You are a child of the universe,
no less than the trees and the stars;
you have a right to be here.
And whether or not it is clear to you,
no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.
Therefore be at peace with God,
whatever you conceive Him to be,
and whatever your labors and aspirations,
in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul.
With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams,
it is still a beautiful world.
Strive to be happy.
Max Ehrmann, Desiderata, Copyright 1952.
Be cheerful, friends. And ultimately above all else, strive to be happy.
Madison Russell is a Southern Belle turned Manhattanite. Most days, you can find her working in a coffee shop, creating digital content, or cuddling with her rescue pup, Talullah.
As a contributing editor, she has been published on Guest of a Guest, The NuWa, and The Select 7. When she’s not busy building a social media presence for clients, you can catch her modeling in professional photoshoots, and loving her New York City life. @madisonrussellx