What is a “Good Day”?

This entry is part 3 of 5 in the series Experiment: Life

Editor’s Note: I started composing this blog post on June 1st, but didn’t manage to post it until 10 days later. I’m behind, but it’s such a great subject that I figured you’d want to read about it anyway. 🙂 I have a couple more posts that are nearly ready to go, I just need to stuff them into the blog. I’ll try to get them up soon.

The first of June! A whole new month, and the first whole month of my new life!

Today I pose the question: what does a good day look like?

Is a good day when I’m fast-moving and productive? Sure. Is a good day when I’m upbeat or happy all day? Absolutely.

But are those things requirements for a good day? After yesterday, I am glad to conclude no.

Yesterday* I woke up sluggish. I couldn’t keep my eyes open for longer than five minutes before I was asleep again. This lasted hours. I asked Ben to set an alarm before he left for work, so I would know when to check on the cooking beans… and I slept through it beeping for about five minutes. Whenever I woke up I would think, “ugh, I really want to be moving, why can’t I stay awake?” I got up three times to check on the beans, and then headed straight back to bed, first for napping, then for mindless games on my phone. “Ughh, why am I so lazy and useless?” I asked myself. I started thinking through all the good reasons for me to be sleepy… I went to bed at a reasonable hour, I’d napped the evening before… and in the afternoon…** Well, my mom told me she slept for a week when she stopped having a job, maybe this was just a delayed reaction. I finally got up and looked around for easy breakfast to eat. “Ugh, I don’t even want to make food. At this rate I’ll be a useless person, eating fast food and sitting on the couch all day!”

Long story not quite as long, most of the day sounded like that.  Finally while I was out on a walk, I noticed that there were gorgeous roses and I’d nearly missed them because I was so focused on why I’m sluggish, instead of focusing on what’s good about the world. Dude, LOTS of things are good about the world! It was sunny, there were roses, I was moving, I had a hat to protect my eyes from the sun, I have a home, etc. As I continued walking down the hill toward the post office, I had a bounce in my step and was noticing the trees and the cars and the ocean… and then had a funny view from outside of myself as the jaunty heroine who has just lifted herself out of a dark hole, and now has a montage scene of being outside in bright colors with a smile on her face, which would be followed by her making food or going shopping or something else appropriate for a montage scene. 🙂

When I got home, I started (or resumed) puzzling over my brain, but this time without the overlay of “what’s wrong with me”. And what I finally realized is that my analytical mind (or perhaps my judgmental mind, or my Critic) spends all of its time measuring me against a ruler that only has the following marks:

  • Not Even Trying
  • Not Good Enough
  • Nice Try
  • If You Were This Effective Every Day, You’d Actually Be A Useful Person

Seriously, even when I have a great day, I judge myself for not having great days every day. No wonder I have a hard time staying motivated. So now’s my chance to completely recalibrate my ruler. What should the marks be?

  • Good Try!
  • Good Job!
  • Awesome!
  • Kicked Serious Butt!***

That ruler might be more motivating.

So yeah, large parts of the day were miserable and uncomfortable and unmotivated, but because of all that I made this huge realization about myself. Now that I can see the ruler, I can choose a different ruler. Therefore, it was a fabulous day. I should be so lucky to have more days like this.

——

* Yesterday = May 31st.  It was a Friday.

** Incidentally, this is total nonsense.  I’d woken up totally early on Thursday to have breakfast with friends, then shopped at Target for an hour and a half, and then got stuck in traffic coming home^.  I had every right to be tired from a day like that.

^ Rush hour traffic.  I always stayed at work until after the traffic was over, and now that I’m not working, why should rush hour traffic apply to me?  Sigh.  I’ll have to get used to planning around this.

*** Apparently nice me who always thinks I’m doing well is really into exclamation points. 😉

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