I’ve read blog posts that describe the perfect day. That perfect day often includes sleeping in, not having to go into work, or something wondrous happening. I want to be loose with my definition of perfect: a day I can be guaranteed to go to sleep happy. While general happiness is undoubtedly linked to several factors outside the control of a single day, when I think of days I’ve enjoyed the most, they tend to have at least some of the elements of the fictional one that follows:
I wake up at 6:00 am. I do about sixty jumping jacks and then move on to sit-ups, push-ups, and miscellaneous flavor-of-the-month exercises. I eat breakfast while flipping through a newspaper. After I get bored reading the previous day’s events, I try my hand at the crossword or some other puzzle on its pages. Then it’s time to shower, and the water is at the Goldilocks temperature and pressure: just right.
I bike into work, and I enter the office to find that several people are already there. I get into a conversation with one of them, and we eventually start talking about a problem. We head over to the whiteboard and start hashing it out. When the hashing inevitably ends, the mental exercise has started my juices flowing on my own work. I make progress just in time for lunch.
My lunch is with a friend I haven’t seen in a while. We head to the local cafe and place orders. We update each other about what’s been happening in the months since we last caught up, talk about the friends who moved away, and plans for the summer/winter/weekend. We exchange our goodbyes and before heading back to work, I stop off by a local store and notice some cute “blank inside” cards. I buy them.
Back at work, I continue making steady progress until I hear the sound of new e-mail. The friend I had lunch with has sent me an Evite to a party that weekend. I accept. I continue working when either a friend or family members calls. I head outside the building (horrible reception indoors!), and we engage in a mixture of laughter and random conversation for the better part of an hour. I head back into work and finish my goals for the day in time to send off an e-mail to my supervisor.
I bike home and stop by to pick up groceries on the way. There’s a new vegetable in season (heirloom tomatoes, anyone?), and I buy a handful to take home. At home, it’s time to cook. I toss the recipe books aside and decide to go into the fridge and figure out how I can transform the vegetable into something new. An idea hits me, and I’m heating oil, chopping vegetables, and moving like clockwork around the kitchen.
I finish the meal in about an hour when my roommate walks in. He’s brought in the mail, and I’ve received a letter from a friend. I offer him dinner, and he accepts. We eat, catching up on the day. We clean the kitchen and rest of the apartment together, taking the trash and recycling downstairs.
I head into my room and read the letter. After I finish, I take the “blank inside” card out of my bookbag and add it to my collection. I write letters to friends I haven’t seen or spoken with in a while, and maybe even one or two to those I have. After addressing the envelopes and adding the stamps, I take the letters down to the mailbox and pop them inside.
I walk back into the apartment and change into my pyjamas. I get into bed and start reading that book I’m in the middle of. I get to the end of the chapter, but I’m not tired yet, so I read another. I aim to read another, but I get tired in the middle of it. I set the book aside, turn off the light, and go to sleep.
It’s surprising to realize how many parts of that day are within my control. And to think those parts can be realized by such simple things!