Sometimes it seems that the easiest attitude to have is a negative one. Monday mornings are infamous for fostering dim spirits and expectations of long, restless days in the week to come. In southern California I’m always somewhat shocked at the weather complaints, even sometimes as they’re coming out of my mouth (“the rest of the country is under a heat wave, and we have this 65 degree weather. I thought this was supposed to be summer… ” or ” What is this rain? I just flat-ironed my hair”). At what point did we all decide to have these mechanical, downtrodden responses to life’s everyday occurrences? Why do we feel the need to dwell on the humbling, bad feelings and glaze over the great ones that make us feel alive and powerful?
Today I found myself caught in one of those bleak moods, thinking about how I was falling behind in some of the things I had said I would get done. The more I thought this way, the less I felt like doing what I needed to do. By the end of things, I had warped my state of mind from motivated to lethargic. What’s one day? How much have I really lost in this one day of slipping up, of losing habits I’d worked so hard to keep in place?
The truth is, we lose our lives in days like these. We look back on our years and regret the times we didn’t take advantage of our opportunities and of our youth. We miss the times we were really accomplishing things and really going for our dreams. We want back the times we didn’t do all that we could. The times we treasure are the times when we are our best.
As I’m talking about keeping spirits high, I’m going to go to a dark place for a moment. Bear with me. A few days after the twin towers were struck, one of my teachers led my class through an exercise. The mood of the whole country at the time was very sullen, and it seemed everyone took this as a wake up call in their own lives. Everyone was reevaluating their place in the world and what they were doing because life was seen with new eyes. To live ours to the fullest was to honor those who were lost.
My teacher elaborated on this point by cutting into strips a list of names and information of people who were lost in the wreckage, and she asked us to pick out a slip with the name of a person who resonated with us. The lady I chose was Samantha, a full-of-life executive who was known to be a caring boss and had a dog named Mozart. We were to carry these people around with us, and we would write about how they would make a difference in our lives as we carried them with us.
For some reason I thought of that lady today as I had let yet another Sunday morning pass without going to a running club that I promised myself I’d join a month ago. I slept in, went to church late, and watched a movie in the middle of a beautiful day. What would I have done today if I were carrying Samantha’s memory around with me? Surely this day would not have been one I’d choose to pay homage to such a woman. That’s when it struck me: everyday is a day that someone somewhere is aching to have. I cannot waste this day.
Therefore, for the next two weeks, I am going to try something new. I will dedicate each day to a different person who I admire and want to honor with the things I can do. I will see how much I can do, how strong I can be and how much better I can make the world in their name. Most importantly, I will love the day and relish my chance to get to be a part of it. Please join me if you feel inspired to do so, and share the name of the person your day is dedicated to.