The Day Before Tomorrow

“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 . . .

blue sunset

watching storm clouds roll in over the lake . . .


or admiring a beautiful sunset.



About icedteawithlemon

I have recently retired from a 30-year career in education in one of the best school districts in the world. I hope to spend my second life reading, writing, photographing, traveling, biking, cheering on my favorite baseball team (the St. Louis Cardinals), and soaking up glorious sunshine. In my spare time I enjoy playing with my pet tarantulas, trying out new flavors of chewing gum, and knitting socks for prison inmates. I'm almost positive that in a past life I was one of the Seven Dwarfs (most likely "Grumpy"), and in my next life I'm going to be either a taste tester for Hershey's or a model for Victoria's Secret's new line, "Bloomers for Boomers." I want to travel country back roads, singing Vanilla Ice songs at every karaoke bar and rating bathroom cleanliness at every truckstop. And someday I plan to own a private beach where skinny girls aren't allowed. I want to be a writer when I grow up. "Our truest life is when we are in dreams awake."--Henry David Thoreau
This entry was posted in Advice, Beauty, Gratitude, Photography, Simple Pleasures and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

23 Responses to The Day Before Tomorrow

  1. Ann Koplow says:

    Fabulous post and pictures. Thank you!

    • And thank you for stopping by! I just checked out your blog–and can certainly lay claim to the concept of “catastrophizing” and relate as well to your worries of being “almost.”

      • Ann Koplow says:

        I am so glad you visited and found it useful. Your laying claim to some very human ways of thinking there. I look forward to future meet-ups here.

  2. Rhonda Newton says:

    What a great idea ! Loved it all! YOU are a Jill of all trades!

  3. jantaber says:

    These are reminders we need to hear or read often — and then we need to take them to heart and put them into practice! Knowing truth is one thing, but hearing it said by someone else seems to make it more emphatic.

    • That’s so very true, Janet. And when I write these reminders for others, I am (perhaps even more importantly) writing them as reminders to myself. We all know the truth of the words, but we all frequently fail to heed them–sometimes because we simply don’t take the time to think and breathe and relax.

  4. emjayandthem says:

    ahhh … absolutely luscious! Thank you!

  5. Marian Bidewell says:

    Perfect way to start my “day before tomorrow!!” You just made my day so much fun;)

  6. bronxboy55 says:

    You’d think, as we get older, that we wouldn’t need to be reminded about these things. Thank you for doing just that, and for doing it so well. I’m going to take your advice. (But can I skip the expensive perfume and grandma’s jewelry?)

    • You would think that, wouldn’t you? Unfortunately, we all seem to get too caught up in looking forward to or worrying about the days ahead (or behind) and forgetting to just live in every delicious moment of today. And somehow, it just wouldn’t seem right for a “Bronx boy” to be reeking of perfume and flashing his grandma’s jewelry, so yes, you may skip that advice (and the sexy shoes as well).

  7. Barbara says:

    Karen , love the bubble flower pictures!

  8. Sue says:

    Thank you, Karen!!! – For making me feel better about myself!! I’m making a list & checking it twice!!! And, Karen!! – remember to FOLLOW YOUR OWN WONDERFUL ADVICE!!!! love always

    • Ha! Thank you, Sue. My husband “suggested” the same. Maybe you and I should both try a little harder–and maybe we should start with getting dressed before noon. 😉

  9. RayEtta says:

    Perfect, oh yes! Actually once in a while I remember to be like that. Dress a little better even though I am not going anywhere. This is one you should shoot back to us every once in a while as a reminder.

    • Thank you, RayEtta. We all need those reminders occasionally, don’t we? I’m trying . . . and it’s certainly easier now that I’m retired and have more time to think and dream and play, but it’s also surprising, too, how often even this retiree lets yesterday and tomorrow overshadow today.

  10. Linda Norton (friend of Julie's) says:

    Just read this, and it was exactly what I needed today. Thank You.

  11. A wonderful and thought-provoking post as always, Karen. Love your “bubble and flower” pic! It put Don Ho singing “Tiny Bubbles” into my head for 2 days! LOL!

    “I just wish moments weren’t so fleeting!’ Isaac called to the man on the roof, ‘They pass so quickly!’ ‘Fleeting?!’ responded the tilling man, ‘Moments? They pass quickly?! . . . Why, once a man is finished growing, he still has twenty years of youth. After that, he has twenty years of middle age. Then, unless misfortune strikes, nature gives him twenty thoughtful years of old age. Why do you call that quickly?’ And with that, the tilling man wiped his sweaty brow and continued tilling; and the dejected Isaac continued wandering. ‘Stupid fool!’ Isaac muttered quietly to himself as soon as he was far enough away not to be heard.”
    – Roman Payne, Hope and Despair

    “And like most middle-aged people who hear the clock ticking in their lives, I had come to resent a waste or theft of my time that was greater than any theft of my goods or money. So I was then determined to savor, savor, savor.”
    – James Lee Burke

    My beloved and late (deceased, not tardy!) paternal Grandmother always put out her good china, cystal and silverware at each and every meal…each day. It was her theory that why in hell keep it all in the china cabinet collecting dust, only to bring out but twice or thrice per year? To ehr, each day alive was a special occasion. I do the same to this day with my china and silver.

    My grandmother also, at age 85, purchased numerous (about twenty or so) alarm clocks and other clocks and scattered them around her home. When asked why, she replied, “I bought myself more time.” 😉 Love that.

    My husband and I, on many an evening, head on down to the park and swing on the swings. We schwing high…we schwing low, we schwing und we schwing until the streetlights come on and it’s time to go. We also are amusement park ride junkies….soooo much fun to ride them wicked rides! They make me scream and laugh out loud…what joy!

    *Ahem*. Here’s Don Ho and his “Tiny Bubbles”…now it’s in YOUR head for a few days! 😉

    Summer on, photo girl!

    Tiger Lil

    • “. . . savor, savor, savor.” I like that, and the more I try to make better use of my time, the more I resent people and events that try to steal my precious time from me–and yet I try (also) not to let them steal my joy as well (in other words, I try to quickly “get over it”). And while I can’t “schwing” high or low (or ride any of those amusement park rides) without becoming ghastly ill, I find my own quiet happiness staring into firelight and gazing at glorious sunsets. To each his own, I suppose!

      Your grandmother was quite wise–and apparently a hoot as well!

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