What does your perfect day look like?

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A rainy view from my office window

Since today is a miserable day outside I thought I would engage in a little mind exercise. Often, we get caught up in the busyness of every day life and think things like, “man, if I only had an extra day,” or “I can’t wait until I retire so I can do project X!” But the problem with this kind of thinking is that we aren’t exploring the things we can do RIGHT NOW to make our lives better and more enjoyable. Constantly thinking your future self will be happy after you achieve certain milestones ignores the power we have over ourselves to be happy today.

An interesting exercise is to compare what you think a perfect day will look like today compared to a perfect day in the future. So for me, let’s assume it’s a weekday because I will compare a perfect day today to a day in the future in which we retire early. It’s also during the school year, as the summers would look completely different.

Today
Wake up early; enjoy a cup of coffee and some journaling
I pack lunches for the kids and I, and make breakfasts before getting them up & sitting with them while they eat
Take the bus to work, earlier because I am planning on working an extra ½ hour a day (a compressed day) to take off some extra vacation time
(Mr. Tucker gets the kids on the bus)
My workday is busy but manageable and I eat a delicious meal I brought to work and then go for a long walk at lunch
I get home around 5pm and help kids with music practice and homework while Mr. Tucker makes dinner
After dinner we enjoy a cup of tea and play some games or read a book together (assuming this is an evening with no activities)
After the kids are in bed, Mr. Tucker and I tidy and prep for the next day
After chores, we connect over a cup of tea, work on personal projects, watch a show or read for an hour or so
We go to bed early to get a good night’s sleep

Non-working life
Wake up early; enjoy a cup of coffee and some journaling
I pack lunches for the kids and make breakfasts before getting them up & sitting with them while they eat
Do a few chores at home, to get ahead of the day (instead of cramming them in on weekends)
Head off with Mr. Tucker to get some exercise, such as a walk, a bike along the parkway, or over to our local YMCA
Have lunch together at home
Volunteer or work on personal projects such as writing or music
Get the kids off the bus at 3:30 and help with homework/music lessons
Have an early dinner together before heading out to the evening’s activities or playing games/reading together at home
After the kids are in bed, Mr. Tucker and I tidy and prep for the next day
After chores, we connect over a cup of tea, work on personal projects, watch a show or read for a couple of hours
We go to bed early to get a good night’s sleep

I think what is important is not what is different on these two lists but how similar these two lists really are. Our lives aren’t changing drastically except we will have more room for more projects (both personal and house-related) and volunteering. The weekends we can also spend in family-related activities instead of cleaning and errands.

But this is also an “ideal day,” and as we know, not every day is ideal. Usually we stress out about having to get up, get ready for work, commute (me), work all day (I often work through lunch), and worry about how both our jobs can interrupt our evenings and weekends sometimes. Not to mention all the time we spend worrying about work-related things.

The other thing I tend to do is put off starting projects because I am saving them for down the road. If I think about this, it’s silly to do this when a lot of these things could add to the quality of my life right now. For example, I used to be a prolific knitter and keep telling myself that when I have more time I will dig out my knitting stuff again. The thing is, I do have enough time to take my knitting out again! Not only that, the eldest has expressed an interest in learning how to knit, which would be a fun thing for us to do together (and I have so much stuff that we’d not need to buy anything for a long time!).

As the old adage goes: don’t wait for that mythical “someday,” it may never come. While I am planning to make it come sooner rather than later, I still shouldn’t put off the things in my life that bring me joy now. This is in part why I am doing a lot more blogging lately, and signed up to get back into harp lessons (which is now on hiatus until I can walk again). There are a plethora of things that I like to do with my time that cost little or no money; I need to find a way to slowly reincorporate them into my days now that the kids are older and I have more personal time.

We’ve all heard the stories of people who wait for their lives to start until after they retire. The person who waits to travel until retirement but is physically unable to manage the places they want to explore, the person who drops dead a month after retirement. All these stories should be a reminder to us to not wait, to do the things we want to do when we have the chance to do them. It doesn’t mean we have to do everything at once and cram it all in, but as we all know there are no perfect moments, so carve out some joy whenever you can.

2 Comments on “What does your perfect day look like?

  1. I really enjoyed reading the post. Thanks for sharing.

    I totally agree with you that we should seize the day while we can. Too often we talk about the future and not enough about today.