What it Means to Live "ONE DAY AT A TIME” November 22 2016
How many of us have heard that if you take a big project or a goal and break it down into small parts it will be a lot easier to accomplish? I'm betting that you have heard of this and have likely used this logic to accomplish some of your biggest dreams and goals.
Breaking things down into smaller parts has a way of making things much easier to manage. To begin with, it literally gives you a place to start. For example, if you plan to run a marathon, you don’t start out by doing the whole thing, you’ll start with being able to run one mile, then two, and so on. Breaking it down like this has a way of easing our anxieties and letting ourselves know that our goals are, in fact, doable.
But I wonder how many of us have actually applied this same concept to our lives? Because in essence, our life is the biggest, the toughest, and most beautiful project we will ever have the joy of working on.
Many of us have heard of the cliché: “One day at a time.” Those could be the most infuriating set of words you’ll ever hear when you’re in the midst of heartbreak or while you’re grieving the death of a loved one. They can also be really annoying when you’re not seeing results quickly enough or when you know that you’ve done everything possible but still haven’t lost the weight. They can be the cautious and terrifying words that you hear from your doctor after a cancer diagnosis. They can also be the most enlightening words if we truly take the time to consider and practice the concept of living one day at a time.
No one can ever know when it is their last day on Earth. What would you feel or do if you knew that you only had one day to live? Would your neighbor who annoys you by taking 3 days longer than everyone else to put their garbage bin away really be that important on your last day? Would the thought of getting caught in the rain bring you misery or bring you ecstasy in feeling raindrops fall on your face for the last time? Would thinking whether someone does or does not like you be of any importance at that moment? Would you spend your time being with the ones that you love? Would the taste of roasted herbs and melted butter on your favorite dish taste even better on this day? Would watching the amber sunset one last time be more precious on this day than any other?
Sometimes we get so lost in the big project of life that we don’t take time to really enjoy it. We don’t usually take life one day at a time and therefore we often feel overwhelmed, anxious, and depressed.
In recent years, I have become serious about planning my goals. It is something I pride myself in and it feels awesome when I accomplish something big like starting Lady Brigade! I have a dream for what I want my life to look like. I even have what some call a “5-year plan” which includes: growing Lady Brigade, writing a book, being physically fit, and perhaps even getting married. When I thought I had met the “love of my life” I got so wrapped up in what I wanted tomorrow to look like that I forgot about the present. I chose a person who may or may not have been right for me - and tried everything I could to make it work.
Unfortunately that relationship ended and all I could see at that moment was the future I had envisioned slowly falling apart. My mind got lost with, what do I do now? How can I move on? What will everyone think? I was so focused on what the future was supposed to look like and about what other people would think, that I had forgotten what it was like to simply live one day at a time.
Living one day at a time gives us permission to look at a person or situation and ask ourselves, “Is this really what I want to be doing right now?”
Living one day at a time lets you enjoy the moment without any expectations of what tomorrow should or shouldn’t look like. Living one day at a time lets you see that things that seem like a big deal - really aren’t. Whether you find the love of the week or the love of your life, buy your dream home on the Gulf of Mexico, or get yourself a jet black Mercedes, you will enjoy it much more by living one day at a time because it reminds you that no situation, no possession, and no person (no matter how much we want them to be) is ever permanent.
Now that I have chosen to try and live one day at a time--does this mean that I have gotten rid of my 5-year plan? Absolutely not! I hope to be here in 5 years (knock on wood) and I plan to accomplish my dreams (as we all should), but I’ve gotten rid of the stress and pressure I had previously put upon myself. I now procrastinate less because life is far too short to think about what I can do tomorrow instead of just getting it done today. I take more action because I’m no longer concerned about what others will think of me. I can move on from setbacks quicker because I understand nothing is forever and that this too will not last. I now live in a calmer state because I no longer hold resentment, anger, or jealousy for the things that have or have not happened for me. I choose to love ONE DAY AT A TIME. I choose to think ONE DAY AT A TIME. I choose to live ONE DAY AT A TIME.
What would your life look like if you chose to take your life ONE DAY AT A TIME?
-Nadine Noky, Army Veteran & Founder of Lady Brigade