Thursday, May 8, 2008

The Value of Today

Last night, my youngest child came into our room around 3:00 a.m. He doesn't always do this, but when he does, it's crazy. We have a queen-size bed and my husband is tall, so there's not a lot of room for another person, even if he is little. Add on top of that his kicking feet aim right for my stomach, so it's pretty impossible to sleep well while he's there. After hoping it would all just go away and the slumbering will begin again, I finally got up and carried him back to bed. Thankfully, he didn't come back a little later. Still, I couldn't get back to sleep.

I thought of my 5:25 alarm setting, knowing that it was growing closer and closer. I thought a lot about what I needed to do first thing this morning (try to straighten out my oldest daughter's housing mess with college -- she got notice last night that the dorms were full and the date to apply was today :) -- I told her "welcome to the world of bureaucracy :)). I thought through what life would be like for her if she didn't get to live in the dorms -- how much farther she'd have to walk, how the students would mostly be older and not relating to her freshman experience. I thought of how she wouldn't be repeating my freshman year if she didn't live where I had. I tossed and turned and tried to turn the thoughts off. I thought of how she had AP and IBO tests all this week and didn't want to add to the stress during testing of housing problems.

Then my thoughts flipped to yesterday. What had I done yesterday? Was it a good day? As I thought it through, it seemed like a wash. I lived through the hours, but didn't feel like I was nearly as productive as I would have liked. I didn't even know what day it was -- was it May 8th? Were we past the 10th? Yes, it was late and I probably could have counted forward from Monday, which was my cousin's birthday, so I knew it was the 5th, but the point I realized is that I wasn't valuing my yesterday that much. And the more I thought about it, I wasn't sure if I had any plans to value my next day either. I was already anticipating some tiredness from sleeplessness. And if I took a nap, I'd be sure to attach some guilt for not getting something else done in that amount of time.

I understand the value of the present moment -- it's a common theme in yoga. It's a principle of Christianity -- life is a gift and we must cherish every moment in appreciation and enjoyment. But it's easy to let that all slide and just let days blend in with each other without distinction or a sense of value.

I remember when my children were little and none were in school. I craved something that would define our days. If I signed the girls up for gymnastics, at least Tuesday and Thursdays would have a distinction from Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, and I actually might be able to tell one day from the next.

I just read in a past National Geographic that a woman with extreme memory capacity can draw any memory from any day since she was 11 years old. She can tell you what people wore or said, what she did, what TV show she saw and what it was about in vivid detail. The detail for her is as real in these thoughts as when I smell a shampoo I haven't used in 15 years or hear a song I haven't heard in years and the smell or song takes me back to that precise time in my life. She says she can take today and flip back to every day like it every year back for 20 years like she's flipping through a Rolodex -- seeing everything that has happened. (Not to get too far off with her, but she says this is a curse as much as a blessing. She experiences the pain and stress of those days as well as the joys over and over again. I just wanted to add that part to complete her story). But her ability made me realize that every day does have it's moments, it's flavor, it's songs, and it's meaning. I need to make each day memorable, whether I ever remember it again or not.

I need to value each day whether I'm filming an exercise video or doing laundry. I actually do enjoy doing laundry, but I doubt I'll ever take pictures or post great details about it in my blog. Who knows? Maybe I will :).

But I do know that I'll live more consciously through today. I'll feel good about what I'm doing. I will look for the value and light in each experience. I will bring any light I can to others around me. I won't waste my moments. I'll figure out the name of the day (MAY 8th today!) and celebrate it like I've been looking forward to this day for a long time. That's what I do on Christmas day or my birthday -- why not today? I feel joy just thinking about it!

Then tonight if I'm awake for hours, if I flip back through my Rolodex of memories from today, I'll smile through them. I won't be wondering what I did or if it had enough worth. I'll know it did.

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