In the middle of this summer, I have made startling discovery. As I try to live my life one day at a time, the anxiety of achieving a future state of happiness has gone away and I am, well, pretty relaxed.
It used to be that days were marked by day, month and season. Weekdays (aka workdays) were dreaded and weekends were celebrated. Rainy months were supposed to be dreary and summer months were eagerly hyped as a time for play.
I have always that found vaguely stressful. There seems to be a lot of pressure placed on the “good times” of weekends and summer to have, well, good times. I always felt that I wasn’t quite doing enough – camping enough, partying enough, have crazy adventures enough.
Here’s the weird thing. As I’ve focused on just living one day at a time, I am finding that those expectations have fallen away and I am learning to appreciate the presents of the present.
Sometimes, I am focused on just one day because that’s all I can manage to think of getting through. It’s kind of relief to know that I don’t have to make things better. I can accept the sadness or loneliness of the day as just one day.
Sometimes, there seems so much that “should” be done that I’m overwhelmed and have to break it down to what I can do just for today.
Sometimes, the day is great and I can enjoy each slow moment of contentment. I can treasure the little things, express gratitude for my many blessings and laugh and be silly.
As I try to live each single day being the person I want to be in this world rather than some version of me that I think I am supposed to be, I find that there are no wasted days and each comes with its own gifts. I am inspired to keep striving, to pushing my boundaries, to live with my whole heart and to be authentic each day.
This week, I spent what is normally a work day out kayaking with some friends. It didn’t feel strange at all to be not at work. It was just what that day had in store. I have had great days at work. I have had long, lonely weekend days. I have frittered away a sunny day indoors when I should be outside. I have reveled in the return of the rain. I have let the depression win some days (and the potato chips). I have said “no thanks, I’ve camped enough for one summer.” I have treasured quiet coffee chats with friends. I’ve gone to bed before the sun goes down and I have partied late into the night til the sun was coming up again.
And, somewhere in there, I think I stopped living for an imaginary future where I accomplish all my “should” be items. Waiting for a future vacation, or a future weekend. Or a future anything.
And you know what? I’m having a really great summer.
One day at a time.