Your Perfect Day

Every day has potential. Some days live up to it.

What would make a day perfect in your eyes? Is it a feeling? Is it circumstance? Is it the presence or absence of someone or someone?

assignment 18

My Perfect Day

My perfect day would start by me waking early — 7:30 am is early, for me — feeling refreshed and restored. I haven't had a relaxing night of sleep in months and often awaken far later than I had planned, feeling guilty, stiff, and still sleepy.

After a hot shower and a shave I'd put on a comfortable outfit, including nice socks (it's amazing how wearing a pair of nice socks can improve my day), comfortable jeans, a tagless t-shirt (really, the ones without itchy tags in the back of the neck are wonderful), and my Doc Martens.

My morning routine is very workable, with a glass of orange juice followed by breakfast at the table while reading the comics. An omelette with waffles or homemade cinnamon rolls sounds very nice.

After that, I'll go for a walk around the park just around the corner. By this point, it's nearly 9 am and I've prepared to meet the day.

I like to read a couple of news sites early in my work day. Because it's a perfect day, however, I won't go to work. Instead, I'll do a little writing, a little programming, and a little bit of miscellaneous work on whatever project I find interesting or useful that particular day. Two or three hours of solid concentration should help me make good progress.

Around 12:30 pm, I'll start feeling hungry, so I'll break for lunch. It's probably leftover pizza. I don't mind leftovers at all, so why not?

I feel sleepy and slower after lunch and often check for the news again on my favorite sites. Sometimes I respond to e-mail. On a perfect day, I might play video games for a little while. (Right now I can't decide what I would play; nothing has grabbed my attention recently.) Otherwise, I will finish off the final pieces of the project. Hey, it's a perfect day!

Around 3 pm I'll stop to work out. I like to listen to music while lifting weights, so I lock myself in the spare bedroom, turn on the little stereo, and spend half an hour making my muscles bigger, my heart stronger, and my limbs more flexible. Maybe I'll do the workout after breakfast. Who knows?

That leaves the long lazy slide into the afternoon. Sometimes I feel like taking a nap after vigorous exercise, so I'll lie down on my bed, close my eyes, and relax.

Thinking about all of this now, it sounds more like what I always intend to do when I go on vacation. In reality, I sleep until 11 am, try to squeeze everything in on this schedule, and end up feeling frustrated and angry. Scratch all of these ideas.

On a truly perfect day, I would accomplish what I want and need to accomplish. I would feel no external obligations beyond those which I actively sought out for myself for that day. I would spend time with the people I care about and not distract myself while they talk to me — I'd have real conversations with them, when we look each other in the eyes and really think about what the other people are saying.

It doesn't really matter where we are or what we're doing. We could be spending time in a rented house on the beach (my family used to do that), raking leaves for an elderly person (my hometown had a weekend for that every year), or even just sitting around in someone's home.

Physical sensations contribute strongly to my perfect day. I imagine it as summer, though not too hot. I've had plenty of sleep and regular meals (lacking these two hurts many family vacations).

I'm not picky on who's present. It could be my family (parents, brother, sister-in-law, and nephew) or it could be friends. I don't imagine it with a special someone, partly because I don't have that special someone and partly because I've never had a perfect day even when I had a special someone. I'd certainly like to try though.

It's difficult to separate out the idea of sufficient accomplishments, however. The days I've found the most satisfying in recent memory are those days in which I did what I set out to do, not the days in which I relaxed the most. Something deep in my personality appreciates honest work much more than a life of ease. That likely means that my perfect day will have doing something that moves me toward the life I'd like to lead and the person I want to be.

As I planned what to write on this subject, I thought I would describe a set of circumstances and events, much like I once planned out my ideal first date. What I've written so far has surprised me. It's not the circumstances and events that make a day perfect in my eyes, except for minimum levels of physical comfort. It's my attitude toward the day.

On one of the easiest days of my life, I spent the entire day studiously avoiding work, doing this or that little thing and wasting time. I felt tremendous guilt and dissatisfaction at the end of the day. One one of the most difficult days of my life this past year, I painted one room of my house with help from another friend. I felt physically exhausted and sore at the end of the day, yet very satisfied — not just that the project had turned out well but that it permitted me to move to the next step of moving into my house.

If I resolve to face a day with my eyes wide open to see its goodness and possibilities, my heart open to spread that to other people, and my schedule a good mix of responsibility and progress, could any day be perfect? Possibly. Not every day will; there's too much outside of my control.

I now realize, however, that a perfect day is well within my reach. At least, it may be a very good day. That's close enough for now.