Day In and Day OutMar 18, 2021
A few months ago, I was taking the shams and pillows off my bed, getting ready to turn in for the night, and I felt like I had just made the bed. I thought about what had transpired between the time when I made the bed and that moment when I was unmaking the bed. And it struck me that it was a lot and nothing.
So I started to reflect on what had happened and how I had progressed through my day. It took me a few minutes to remember what I had done. It was a relatively ordinary day, and I realized that I had spent the day just going through the motions. I had done everything I was supposed to do, and by most standards, had been productive, but something was off. I spent some time journaling, trying to identify what I was feeling at that moment. I wasn’t tired. I wasn’t happy or sad. I just felt a little hollow. I had moved through my day like a robot, not really checked in or present.
I wanted to blame it on COVID, but if I was honest with myself, I knew that I had had plenty of days like that before COVID. Times when I got to the end of the day, and I thought, what the hell did I do today? I also realized that there were days from my past where I could vividly remember the details of the day and not just good days, but bad days as well.
I tried to put my finger on what made those days different. And I realized that whether I remembered the day as a good day or a bad day, I had been fully present and experiencing life. All of life, the good and the bad. So I decided from then on that I wanted to be fully present in my life. I didn’t want to get to the end of another day and feel like I had zombied my way through it, wondering what had happened between making the bed and unmaking the bed. I began to really think about how I wanted to live my life and decided I wanted to live with intention and purpose. You know that old saying anything worth doing is worth doing well.
That does not mean that every day has to be chucked full of meaningful activity. I can lounge on the sofa like a boss! But when I lounge on the sofa or zone out to Netflix, it is intentional. It is not because I’m avoiding something or I’m “overwhelmed.” It is because I decided I wanted and needed downtime, and I revel in it: Mumu and all.
So what makes the intentional days different from the zombie days? What makes them significant? Well, think about a big day that you have put a lot of thought and planning into – maybe your wedding day. You planned every detail and probably replayed the day in your head a hundred times. You envisioned how everything will look, how you will feel, and the excitement builds as you get closer to that day. You were continuously going back to those thoughts and replaying them in your head and creating that feeling of excitement. You were intentional about every aspect of that day.
Now think about a day when you had no solid plans, but you knew you had “a lot to do.” You moved through the day from task to task, unorganized and unmotivated. You were easily distracted because you didn’t really feel like doing the things you were supposed to be doing. And by the end of the day, you were in front of the TV feeling overwhelmed by the unfinished tasks on your to-do list for the next day. So it is no wonder the day doesn’t stand out as one to remember.
I know a wedding day is a special day, so of course people plan every detail. But my question is, if you can put that much effort into planning a day that involves so many moving pieces and people, why can’t you plan a Tuesday? Your time on this earth is limited. Why wouldn’t you make the most of each day? No, you can’t control every detail of every day, but you can plan and really think about how you want to feel and show up each day, so at the end of the day, you don’t feel like life just happened to you. You feel like you actively participated in your life.
Let’s say you have a big sales meeting with a potential new client. Of course you will prepare for it logistically, but it is also crucial to plan how you want to feel before, during, and after the meeting, no matter how it turns out. Yes, even if you don’t get the account. You can still decide to approach it from a place of empowerment. You had an opportunity. You showed up as your best self and gave it your all. You executed on the things you could control, and you can feel proud and happy about it.
When you get to the end of your day, and you have given it your all, from a place of empowerment and choice, you may feel physically tired, but the emotions will be positive and give you the energy and drive to do it over and over again.
Your Day. Your Life. Your Dreams. Your Way.
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