The alarm clock jars you awake and verifies that another day has begun. You stumble into the bathroom, brush your teeth, and make one of two decisions. You either look forward to the day ahead or you are filled with inexplicable dread.
I’ve been carrying around in my wallet a dog-eared copy of a column penned way back in 2002 by Hank Flick, a columnist in my local newspaper. It touched me then, but the message has grown into a full-blown obsession, the older I get.
The column was entitled “Celebrating the beauty of ordinary days” and it describes the seeds of possibility which are encapsulated in each and every day of our lives. Often we miss them because our minds are consumed with ourselves and the problems which trespass on our serenity with annoying regularity. My mother used to call them “character building experiences” and at the time, I thought I could do without any more character, thank you very much.
At first glance, most days seem repetitive, mundane and mind-numbingly ordinary, right? We get up, force ourselves to exchange our comfy night gown for the itchy clothing society expects and hopefully make our hips look slender. Reluctantly, we climb on the treadmill of life and trudge up and down the hills and valleys, checking off our to-do list and dreaming of the weekend. I lived just like that until, like a bolt out of lightening, it dawned on me that ordinary days are like a daisy chain. They get strung together to form a necklace much the ways our days link together to produce a lifetime. We’d be wise to pay attention to what’s going on behind the scenes and take our ride off auto-pilot.
The philosophical gurus warn that when we whine and complain, we get more of what we complain about because that’s what we are focused on. So what if today isn’t your birthday and no one seems to appreciate you or your problems? So what if you don’t have anything special to look forward to and Christmas is still half a year away. You aren’t surprised when you discover a brand new wrinkle and to top it off, you’re having a bad hair day. Maybe those are the moments we need to celebrate because they are proof we are still alive and at least marginally human.
Then, you receive a phone call from your best friend and end up laughing hysterically as she tells you about dropping her contact lens into the English pea casserole at the church potluck. You step out the back door to pick up your newspaper and discover a big ole home grown tomato left by your neighbor. You discover a $10 bill in the jeans you last wore in March. You rush outside with your sack of garbage and the sanitation worker comments on your bed of old garden phlox blooming their hearts out. Oh my, isn’t life just grand?
Someone has suggested we write an elegy for every day that slips through our lives unnoticed and unappreciated. Those days remind us how much we have, how much we have escaped, and how much remains to be grateful for.
This isn’t just the law of attraction working here, it’s common sense. If you are complaining, you are mired in the muck and stay stuck longer than necessary. But if, in those moments of frustration or worry, you can step back and say those famous words “This too shall pass,” the law of averages insists something good is bound to pop up any moment now.