To affect the quality of the day, that is the highest of arts.
~ Henry David Thoreau
What is the best thing you will do today?
Will it just happen, or will it take some doing?
When you wake up in the morning and think about the day ahead, does your mind immediately go to a to-do list or the demands on your time and energy; or do you wake up excited about something?
All of us have things we must do – every single day. And, often, those things can be overwhelming. It’s very easy for our daily direction to give way to our responsibilities and for the more sublime parts of our lives to get take a back seat (or not even make it into the car).
My days usually start with thoughts of beating the traffic, some early-in-the-day deadline, or some crisis that I have to address – that works for me. My subconscious mind has a way of organizing and prioritizing that my conscious mind doesn’t, so I start the day by organizing my day.
But, for me, it’s also important to think about what will make my day special: something that I look forward to, something exciting, something noteworthy, something extraordinary.
All of us have an opportunity to do or experience something special every day – it doesn’t have to be earth-shattering. It might be as simple as making someone laugh. Giving a moment of happiness to another person may seem insignificant, but it could change the direction of that person’s whole day or it may play forward toward a flow of positive energy that involves other people.
It may involve creating something, playing a song on a guitar, drawing a picture, or writing a poem. Doing these things contributes to the beauty of the world even if you’re the only one who hears or sees it.
It may be something that seems mundane on the surface, but, at its core, is very special. Putting in a good solid day’s work, meeting the needs of our children, maintaining our homes; all of these things make a positive contribution to the world and are special in their own way.
When I was in my early twenties, I would periodically experience moments of panic (as only people in their early twenties can), thinking that my life was becoming ordinary. I wasn’t a rock star yet, and the Orioles weren’t calling me in search of a long relief pitcher. I couldn’t bear the thought of living a “normal” life.
But, as it turns out, my life became way more special than it would have if I had realized either of those dreams.
You don’t have to be a great artist, athlete, or adventurer to create or experience something special. If we pay attention, there is something special in every moment of our lives. Sometimes my daily special thing is just recognizing that.
Our lives will become ordinary only if we let them. By making room for something special in our lives – every day – we can ensure that they are never ordinary.