Driving home from work today, I was replaying my frustrations from the week in my head: not enough sleep, TOO MUCH SITTING, medium performance on a work project, didn’t meet my workout goals, TOO MUCH SITTING, missing friends and family, picked kids up too late from school, ordered takeout instead of cooking, TOO MUCH SITTING. The week wasn’t terrible by any stretch; it just didn’t quite go as planned (first world problems, I know). Adding up these little first world things, however, I finished the week with an empty tank, not energy and inspiration.
Out of nowhere, while I was stopped at a red light, an old adage drifted into my head: “Today is the first day of the rest of your life.“ It floated into my mind the way yoga teachers often describe thoughts passing through during the early stages of meditation. “What would I do if I were dropped into this very moment?” I asked myself. “What if I were unaware of the past and able to design my life anew from this point forward? What would the days include? Who would they include? What would they feel like?” And quickly, within minutes, I was in a different mental state.
There are lots of ways to deal with negativity and complaining and toxic thoughts — acknowledging them and then letting them go, incorporating a regular gratitude practice, thinking about how your children would feel if they listened to you, and helping another person, to name a few. Cliche quotes usually don’t make this list. But nonetheless, this one worked for me today, in a major way. It reminded me that we play active roles in designing our days and weeks and months and years. We have the power to shape the rest of our lives every single day, moment by moment.
“Today is the first day of the rest of your life.“