Have you ever considered what your perfect day would be? Have you thought, oh, my perfect day would be to wake up, get a massage, be fed delicious food and hot perfectly brewed coffee in bed, take a hot bath, then leisurely stroll through your pampered day and then watch the sunset with a loved one while drinking hot cocoa and looking perfect all the while? And has your perfect day ever really happened? Does that disappoint you? Wouldn’t it be nice if your perfect day could happen today? Or tomorrow? Or how about every single day? (if you say no, you aren’t human…)
I have given this much thought of late. I’ve even tried to put it down on paper. But it never looks like a fantasy day like what I described above. It looks more like: 5 am wake up, take dog for a walk on the beach (ok that is fantasy), have a cup of coffee and read the bible. 7am eat breakfast. 8 am go to work (yep, I include work). 12 have lunch with my husband. 5pm come home (energetic) and prepare gourmet dinner. 7pm whole family helps clean the house. 8pm kids go to bed. 9pm I go to bed and read. 10pm my husband comes to bed and well…
Yet as sober a “perfect day” as that might be it still never happens. Except for the beach, I keep thinking that this day is perfectly attainable. Except for, you know, life. Life. It happens. There is more homework. The kids don’t want to help clean. up. anything. I stay up too late reading Facebook or Pinterest and then drag myself out of bed at 7, lucky to shower before work. I work through lunch and have the life sucked out of my soul by a couple of patients and come him exhausted. Gourmet meal plan out the window and I beg my husband to make pizza. A couple of glasses of wine later, stuffed with carbs, we stumble to bed and pass out. Sounds swell, huh?
I imagined when I was 41, approaching 42, that I would be traveling the world. My children almost grown and independent. I’d go out to dinner at will and have time to kayak to my heart’s content. Then God said, “Let there be twins and celiac disease.” (No, I don’t think God caused me to have celiac disease but he might have had a hand in the whole twin thing… And no, I am not saying God actually said anything to me. I am not a prophet. Just being creative there. Wow, that needed a lot of explanation.) Well, that little pipe dream went bye-bye.
Now, I have to include two little girls and their daddy in my perfect day. Going out to dinner invokes all kinds of dread and fear about what I can eat without getting sick. This girl can’t live on salad!! Travel is now fraught with food anxiety and anxiety over what to do with small children. Relaxing on a beach is nearly impossible when you are just trying to keep your children from drowning. I’m responsible like that.
So is it a bad thing that we don’t get our “perfect” day? Should we even bother? What’s the point?
Well, there is a lot of talk about simplifying, becoming minimalist, decluttering, etc., so you can eventually only have to deal with what is really important to you. It’s a means to lives get to living out that “perfect” day. Sell everything! Go live out of a van! Just go and be! Free yourself from the bondage of mortgages and property taxes and responsibility. Is that really a possibility for most of us? I kind of don’t think so.
I think we can all be more conscious of our daily decisions and consumption. I think that we could all live with less quite comfortably. And I think that maybe that saying to “live simply so that others may simply live” is pretty valid IF by not consuming something we in turn help out someone else meet their basic needs. If we are just living “simply” in some areas so that we can have more money for other stuff we want to do like, say, travel more, then it’s just something we are doing for ourselves not someone else. It’s not a moral decision to do that, it’s just a lifestyle one. No better or worse than any other lifestyle. See the difference?
Back to the perfect day idea though. See, I don’t know if dreaming about a completely impossible “Perfect Day” is helpful. I kind of feel like it makes us walk around dreaming of this day we think we should have and deserve and thus makes us dissatisfied with our present state of affairs. Being dissatisfied is not necessarily bad if it leads you to make drastically needed improvements, like quitting smoking or losing weight and exercising, however, if we are dissatisfied with a life that is generally good and productive and cannot be content in that moment, then when will we ever be content?
I know from personal experience that the occasional “perfect day” is NOT satisfying. It has either left me dreading going back to my reality or seemed like a grand waste of time and resources. Perhaps I am the rare person who feels more fulfilled going to work every day and being productive than staying home and doing whatever my little heart desires all day. Maybe it is leftover Catholic guilt and I just feel bad doing all the things I want to do rather than taking care of other people and doing my work. It could also be the nurse in me. We never seem to want to quit or take days off.
I also readily admit that I am lucky lucky lucky that I am in the position to love what I do. I worked very hard to get here. I admittedly chose nursing because I was heading toward graduation and needed a degree in something that was employable. However, it was the best decision I could have made because it has given me a career with endless possibilities and opportunities. I highly recommend it!
So what am I really saying? What about the “perfect day? ” Is this post ever going to end?
I say this: set the bar low. Don’t expect much. Be content with where you are. Fix stuff that isn’t working but don’t throw out the whole thing. Or your whole life. Don’t breed discontent by allowing yourself to think you should be this or that and well, you’re a failure if you’re not. Don’t dread another day at your job (that pays you) because it’s not your “dream job.” Do your best job everyday. I know that sometimes it’s nearly impossible to feel happy or satisfied with our daily life but this should only be temporary. If you are miserable everyday, for all that is good and holy, please figure out what is making you so miserable and get rid of it, especially if it’s your attitude!
The simplest way to the perfect day is to consider your perfect day the one where you get to spend time with the people you love, no matter where you are and no matter what you are doing. So, I have the perfect day everyday. I see my husband in the morning and sometimes my kids (they are sleepyheads). I see my patients during the day (I now I get to take care of all the grandmas and grandpas of the world!). I see my children and husband again in the evening and I get to cook. I see my parents regularly. I see my church family at least once a week. I “see” God” everyday through the scriptures. What else do I need to be content? It can all be the “perfect day.”