I expect too much from my days.
We all have had those unforgettable moments. I’ll always remember the day that I went to Disneyland for the first time, as all of the fanatic Mickey-obsessed kids probably do. My parents will always remember the day they said ‘I do,’ and made the lifelong promise to live and love.
And then there’s the day that my grandma died — deaths have their way of engraving their dates on our heart. Or, the day my dad came home and said he lost his job. I was 8‑years-old then, and I’m 19-years-old now — I still remember.
When we wake up each morning, our days are void. Nothing has happened — good or bad. Each day is a vessel. Filling them is inevitable, and an empty day is impossible.
But too often, we complain about what fills them. At the end of the day, we crawl into bed and sift through the day’s happenings, recounting all the memories we’ll quickly forget, all the things that have necessarily — or unnecessarily filled our vessel.
Maybe we remember the moment when we sat in the library for four hours and only typed one page of our 10 page paper assignment. Or the time we stood in the middle of the crowded cafeteria for 10 minutes looking like lost kids when in reality, we were just annoyed that people were sitting in a two person booth by themselves.
Then comes the long-awaited declaration: “Today was a good day.” Or, God forbid, “Today was rough.”
Our conceptions of our days are far too shallow. We pine over these aggravating moments throughout out the day — up until the end when we secretly hope that tomorrow will be better. But then we live the next day the exact same way: remembering the moments when things didn’t go the way we wanted them to, and forgetting the times when they did. These kinks in our days — the often-insignificant irritants — trample over the sweet moments we nonchalantly expect to fill our days. I suppose we like a hearty routine.
Last summer, I traveled as a camp counselor and talked to a lot of girls about a lot of things. But I listened, too. I don’t think I’ll ever forget Nina. Her brother had died from cancer seven months prior, but as she told me this, she smiled through the tears that cloaked her eyes.
“Sofia, the day he died, that wasn’t a bad day,” Nina said. “I guess I don’t believe in bad days, because every day that I’ve lived, even on a day like that, I’ve seen at least one good thing that’s happened in it.”
I’m certain the day Nina’s brother died was nothing short of an overflowing vessel. A day filled with inexplicable sorrow; a day where all their cherished memories together suddenly clashed with the reality that there wouldn’t be any more.
But Nina embraced this vessel. I doubt she woke up expecting it to be the adventure of a lifetime, or a day in which everything would go as planned. But when there was a 30-second opportunity to laugh or a chance to eat a home-cooked meal made by dear family friends, she grasped onto these rarities — and gave thanks for them too.
Our days are vessels, yes — but they carry memories, gifts, and moments that we’re fools to think we deserve. We will never be fully satisfied with the lives we live — that’s the reality of a day that’s filled with good and the bad. Sure, we could continue to live each hour for the next best thing; we might get somewhere, someday.
But as for me, I want to remember the time I walked outside after class and was invited into a frisbee game with people that I didn’t know, but who wanted to know me. I don’t want to forget the unexpected hug that my friend gave me when she saw my tired and tearful eyes, or the moment when I walked into my professor’s office expecting to have a percussion lesson, only to sit and laugh while listening to our favorite songs.
These days — these mundane Mondays and Tuesdays and Fridays — they’re worth remembering. Keep them in your heart — they go by quickly.