The lady was overly apologetic. She had just spilled her freshly refilled coffee on my white pants leg causing a large mess around our feet.
“Don’t worry, today is my life-celebrating day. Tomorrow these pants won’t matter at all.” I said, trying to console her as I reached for some napkins.
“What!” She exclaimed, a little too loudly I thought. “What do you mean those pants won’t matter tomorrow?!”
I have been creating life-celebrating days for so long that I had forgotten that it is an uncommon idea. My matter-of-fact tone must have alarmed her more that the mere coffee spill.
Looking at her with a smile, I explained, “Once a month, I pretend that a particular day is my last day living. On that day, I don’t get caught up in the small disappointments that may happen during the day like not getting the parking space I want or getting cut-off on the freeway or, as in this case, having coffee spilled on me. If today really is my last day, then tomorrow having dirty pants in the laundry is not a big deal to what used to be “Skip”.
“That does not sound like much of a life celebration day,” she said grabbing the now dirtied napkins from me. “What do you do on a life-celebrating day anyway? Still sounds a little morbid to me.”
“Nothing really extra special exactly. Just I try to make an extra effort to notice the beautiful things that might otherwise go unnoticed, like the clouds in the sky, smiles from strangers, and simple things like that. I also call friends and family members I don’t often talk to but wished I could connect with more frequently. Sometimes, the only time we get to talk is on my life-celebrating days. A few of my friends get upset if I don’t call them on life-celebrating days.”
“That’s interesting. How do you choose your life-celebrating days or do you just wake up and say today’s the day?” I couldn’t really tell if she was interested or just trying to be polite as we finished cleaning up the floor and our shoes.
“On the first of every month, I draw a number from 1 to 31 written on some little pieces of paper I keep in a box just for this purpose. Then I mark my calendar for that day. If possible, I’ll treat myself to a better lunch or take a longer walk where I pay attention to the color of the sky, birds flying by, anything to just notice and appreciate the day. I know that some day for real, I won’t have a whole day anymore. I need to keep myself enjoying what I have now.”
“Like coffee stained pants?” she said grinning.
“Like appreciating that I have pants, and legs, and fresh coffee to enjoy. There are lots of people who don’t have those gifts. I am training myself not to over-look what benefits we have that are so often taken for granted.”
“I should do that more,” she said a little sadly, more to herself than to me.
“Make it easy at first, each month on the same number day as your birthday for instance, make that you life-celebrating day. When you remember to do the drawing on the first of the month, that is also a good time to do that too for the randomness it brings. Maybe on that day, for some unknown reason, you really should celebrate your life and those you love. Connect with them.”
“Well, as I have said several times now, I am sorry for the spill and your pants; but thanks for the idea. Today, I feel that I really need a life-celebrating day. It’s starting out rough.”
As we shook hands, I suggested, “Make today your life-celebrating day. Call someone you love. Maybe they need more than a clean pair of pants, maybe they really need to hear from you, you personally. Maybe that will help improve your day too.”
A man sitting nearby who had possibly over-heard the entire conversation caught my attention. He reached out his hand, “I’m going to make today my life-celebrating day. Can I buy you a cup of coffee to go with your pants?”
Let me know how you celebrate your Life-Celebrating day! Please feel free to post your comments below.