“Write it on your heart that every day is the best day in the year.”
– Ralph Waldo Emerson
We look forward to five years down the road when we can trade in the old car, pay off the house or finally retire. We mark off days on the calendar as we anticipate next fall’s baby arrival or next summer’s long-awaited vacation. We count the dragging minutes before Friday’s clock signals the start of our BIG weekend. And we even go to bed early sometimes so that tomorrow will show up faster.
Whatever the reasons, we always seem to be looking ahead toward some tomorrow–while often forgetting that we have the ability to make the day before tomorrow a special occasion, too.
That’s right. I’m talking about today–right now. Today is every bit as special as whatever tomorrow we’re waiting for because today we are here. Today we are gloriously alive–inhaling and exhaling, burping and sneezing and sweating, producing billions of groovy new cells and sending billions of crazy cool messages to our spectacular brains at break-neck speed. Can any of us say with unwavering confidence that we will be doing all that tomorrow as well?
So here’s what I want you to do (and I’ll try to do the same): If only for this day, if only for a few moments in this day, spend a little less time regretting the problems of yesterday or waiting for the uncertain promises of tomorrow–and instead focus on reveling in the delicacy of the here and now.
Dress up. Wear your favorite outfit, your best colors, your sexy shoes, your grandma’s jewelry, your expensive perfume. Even if you’re just staying home and no one else will know, you will–and you’ll feel better for it.
Look in the mirror–LOOK–and say over and over again until you truly believe it: “I am beautiful. I am smart. I am strong. I am good.” Stop looking for the ugly (it isn’t there) and say hello to the amazing person that others see. (Yeah, I know that sounds a little too hippie chick ridiculous for some of you, but can’t you at least give it a try? You can close the door and whisper, if you must, so no one else will know.)
Write–something, anything (anything, that is, except a list of chores–you can write that list tomorrow). When is the last time you wrote a poem, a song, a journal entry, a letter? Pour out your passion in ink splotches, quell your raging beast with keystrokes–open those floodgates and write.
Turn off the television, the radio and every other noisemaker and savor the silence. Close your eyes, breathe deeply and let your mind wander wherever it will (except to that neglected chore list–re-direct!).
Exercise–your brain and your body. They may both hate you in those first agonizing moments when they realize what you’re up to, but they’ll thank you eventually (and if they don’t, put them through the same regimen again and again and again until they do).
Slam the door on those sneaky, inner gremlins who keep invading your brain, warping your reality and stealing your sunshine. Maybe (probably) if you deprive those little joy-suckers of the attention they demand, they’ll starve and wither into impotent nothingness.
Go outside. Breathe in the fragrance of early morning, feel the whispering breeze against your skin, watch and hear the world come alive. Gaze at cottony clouds skittering across the afternoon sky, listen to the tree frogs welcoming the dusk. Be at peace.
Take time to dream–and don’t just dream little dreams that are safe and sure. See yourself accomplishing those little ones and then fearlessly marching on to something even more daring, colossal and magnificent. Kick your fears out the back door (kick ’em hard), squelch that self-doubt and believe in your Superhero (with a capital S) power to turn even your biggest dreams into blazing reality.
Be gentle with yourself. Of course, you’ve made mistakes–and, of course, some of them have been monstrous. You’re human, right? I know it’s hard, but forgive your perfectly imperfect self and move on.
Eat something that is good for you–luscious berries, garden-ripe vegetables, or one super-sized, humongous piece of decadent dark chocolate that melts ever-so-slowly in your grateful mouth.
Make a conscious effort to say at least one nice thing to someone else (better yet, shoot for ten!). Tell a young mother her child is beautiful, compliment an elderly gentleman’s colorful tie or the cashier’s lovely shirt, kindly remark on a friend’s funky new hairstyle. Seeing their appreciative smiles will fuel your happiness bonfires. And seriously, can you remember the last time you thought you looked pretty darn good but no one else seemed to notice–and how that made you feel?
Love unabashedly–your family, your friends, your neighbors and colleagues, even the people who don’t love you back. And if you can do it without getting too mushy or weird, tell them through your words and actions how much they mean to you, how much you appreciate their place in your world. Even more importantly, love your own exquisite self (you’re worthy, I promise).
Do something child-like that will make you squeal in delight. Blow soap bubbles, ride a bike, swivel a hula hoop, splash in a puddle, build castles in the sand. You don’t need kids or grandkids around to justify your silliness, and if you’re not already giggling, then just try imagining what your stuffy neighbors must be thinking while spying on you through the kitchen curtains.
And finally, high five your inner badass. Who else has your wisdom, your determination, your courage, your thoughtfulness, your history, your dazzling smile? No one. Celebrate all that is uniquely you–and celebrate, please, this delicious, never-again day before tomorrow. (And I’ll try to do the same.)
“Why do they not teach you that time is a finger snap and an eye blink,
and that you should not allow a moment to pass you by
without taking joyous, ecstatic note of it,
not wasting a single moment of its swift, breakneck circuit?”
– Pat Conroy
Sometimes I celebrate the day by wandering through flower gardens . . .
playing with bubbles . . .
watching storm clouds roll in over the lake . . .
or admiring a beautiful sunset.