Here’s a question worth contemplating: How many total days do you get to live? 24,000? Perhaps 32,000? Whatever the total, for many people, it’s more than our counterparts of a generation ago. Indeed, in 1900 the median life span in the U.S. was 49 years old. By 2000 the median life span had reached 77. Today, it’s common for people to reach their late 70s, 80s, or even 90s.
Time is Precious
No matter how many days you have on this earth, it’s vital to appreciate each of them. Think of it, there have been eons of sunrises and sunsets since the earth first formed out of congealed gases. Your time on earth is a minute fraction of that.
Ever since the oceans first formed, the tides have been rising and falling.
What’s more, the earth is home to tens of thousands of species, many of which have still not been identified and classified. When you awake each morning, opportunities await. A day is such a long time when you ponder the possibilities:
In one single minute or less you can throw water on your face, dry off, stretch intently, engage in a mini meditation, have a big drink of water, close your eyes, take a quick walk, visualize a pleasant scene, check for messages, look at photos, sit up or stand up straight, write a thank-you note, yawn, straighten up your desk, review notes, change your seat, have a pleasant thought, or phone someone.
And Much More
In five to 45 minutes you can check for voicemail, texts, and email messages; catch the news on TV, radio, or the Internet; lay your head down for some quick rest, take a rigorous walk, balance your checkbook, water the plants, vacuum, straighten up the interior of your car, review what’s in the trunk of your car, have a brief meeting with staff members, jog, clean your bathroom, take a shower, and get dressed.
Also, deal with today’s mail, organize half of a filing cabinet drawer, take a nap, run a PC diagnostic program, download many large files, mentally rehearse a major presentation you’ll be giving, proofread a report, comfortably eat lunch, listen to several of your favorite songs.
In two to 24 hours you can watch a movie in the theater or at home, attend a local sporting event, spend quality time with someone else, read several chapters of a book, completely redo your file drawer, reorganize your closet with time to spare, clean your whole house, visit a good friend, attend religious worship, write a report from start to finish, or visit a park or other area of nature.
Your could take a considerable car trip, catch up on your sleep, enroll in a rigorous course, renew yourself at the spa, attend several movies, read one book or more, take a plane flight, renew your relationships with a friend from across town, clean most or all of your home, or fly to China.
Optimize not Maximize
Your quest is to optimize, but not maximize your day. You’re not trying to jam pack your time with activity. What would be the point? Having optimal days, means there is a balance. Some work perhaps, some leisure — enjoyment of your meals, time for a friend, time to reflect, and the ability to get out and stretch or exercise, maybe vigorously.
A sense of the power of nature, the appreciation of higher forces, a sense of being reverent, respectful, all of these can go into the optimal day.
No matter how trying or exhausting, some days might be, invariably some good can be extracted from such days. If you are the type who is motivated by quotes and slogans – if they help to lift you when you’re down or rise you up further than you are – the Internet provides infinite number of such resources. Songs, as well, can spur you on. If Don’t Worry be Happy works for you, play it. If What a Difference a Day Makes nourishes your soul, listen to it.
Movies can be uplifting as well. On any given day, you can watch inspiring movies. If Chariots of Fire or Silver Linings Playbook work for you, watch them. Poetry, light verse, stirring novels, and inspiring biographies can make a difference in your day. Access to written works has never been more available than it is today.
Take This Day
At some point in your day, will be time to drop back and punt. In other words, give yourself permission to relax – to simply be. Reverse the old axiom, “don’t just sit there do something,” to “don’t just do something, sit there.”
For however many hours there are left in this day, and however many days you have left on this earth, recognize that they are all gifts: Gifts to be experienced, and enjoyed.