I conquered entropy last week and jump-started my old routine of rising before dawn and hitting a 5:45 AM spin class at our local gym.
Afterward, I took some time to stretch and strengthen my freshly battered muscles and I saw that someone had written a supposed-to-be-inspirational statement on a chalkboard in the weight room.
It said something like, EVERY DAY IS AN OPPORTUNITY TO IMPROVE YOURSELF! DON'T MISS YOUR CHANCE!
I looked at it and sighed.
Friends, I am done with that kind of nonsense. Maybe, in my younger years, I would have thought to myself, "Yea! That's right, Shirey. Get up and get after it. Never stop trying to improve yourself!!"
No more. That mindset exhausts me, first of all. But most importantly, it keeps me from living the life that is right in front of me. The rich, good, full, joyous life that is mine right now, improved or not.
In my head, I changed the quote to read, "Every day is an opportunity to ENJOY yourself. Don't miss your chance." I said it in a quiet, calm voice - not the ALL CAPS yelling kind of voice of the initial quote.
What if, friends?
What if we all recognized that each and every day is a gift? A chance to breathe, to see, to move, to love, to laugh, to cry, to feel, to taste, to rest? Even if not one whit of improvement happens ...
The mythology that life somehow will not fully happen until we are some better version of ourselves is so destructive. I mean, if you want to improve yourself, go for it! Nothing stopping you. But don't miss the life you currently have in your quest for non-stop betterment.
Because, guess what?
You can enjoy life without getting out of bed early to exercise.
You can enjoy life with 20 extra pounds on your body - or more!
You can enjoy life while the kids are still in diapers, while your career feels stuck, while your house improvement list is long, while your abs are not 6-packs, while you don't drink 8 glasses of water every day.
You can enjoy life as you age, when you fail, when you feel stuck. Even when life is really, really hard. Even then, there are gifts.
Every day is an opportunity to enjoy yourself. Don't miss your chance!