Today the question is, what does a perfect day look like?
When I saw the question, my mind immediately leapt to my “to do” list, which would be completely done at the end of a perfect day. Or would it? Would it really be a perfect day because I returned all our library books (on time), walked the dog, ran 4 miles, cleaned out my email box, fixed dinner, helped the kids with their homework, vacuumed the rug, wrote a paper, washed the dishes? Perhaps after completing the “to dos” I’d feel a temporary sense of relief. Temporary. But wouldn’t the list – complete with the attendant anxiety – simply re-populate the next day? How is that perfect? Maybe that’s the point. Finishing one’s “to dos” doesnt make for a perfect day. Even if it were possible to finish every task on the list (I have some very high achieving friends, I’m certain they finish their to dos. Every. Single. Day. (bless their pointy little heads)), it’s not the finishing, the final checkmark or strikethrough that makes the day perfect.
So, what then?
On further reflection, it seems to me that the perfect day requires a certain state of mind, a state of mind that must be cultivated, slowly, bit-by-bit, over time. This state of mind manifests in each major area of my life (remember, this is a perfect day we’re talking about, I’m not claiming that I’m there right now). So here is my checklist:
1. A feeling of accomplishment in work done well, work that:
- stretches the mind
- requires creativity
- requires deep effort
- encourages risk taking
- provides great value to others
- (note that none of this has anything to do with checking off to do lists)
2. A feeling of connection to friends and family, rooted in:
- meaningful conversations and interactions
- joy and frequent laughter, silliness
3. A feeling of peace and comfort in my home and environment, based on:
- the sight, feeling, smell of freshness and cleanliness (a girl can dream, even with 3 kids, a decrepit cat and a big dog)
- the abundance of beautiful, warm light
- a sense of peace and quiet (well, occasionally. note that this may conflict with bullet the third relating to connections to friends/family – but again, this is the perfect day, not necessarily logical reality). Serenity.
- the marriage of simplicity and abundance
4. Finally, a connection to the divine, meaning that, in my work, my relationships, and my home, everything I do brings me a tiny bit closer to God.
Yes, I think if I got all of these things on my list, that would be a perfect day. And I can work a little bit on all of these things – every single day.
So, how about you? What’s on your checklist for a perfect day? Take 2 minutes RIGHT NOW to write down the things that would make your day perfect. Perfect. Don’t let the list get too long! Work on it a little every day. Don’t defer being happy for when the to do list is done. It’ll never be done. But just doing the work – working on Your perfect checklist – a little bit every day – might be enough.
P.s. – another way to think of this is to imagine today is your last day on earth. Knowing this, what would you do to make the most of it?