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Designing my perfect day
It doesn't start with ice baths or scrolling the news.
Howdy! Welcome back to Traipsing About, a newsletter about reclaiming creativity and ditching tired personal paradigms.
Somehow it’s December and I’m going XC skiing today. (Picture me thrashing around awkwardly in the snow.) Funny how seasons tend to sneak up on us and WHAM the trails are snowed in, forcing our focus and activities to shift. Kinda like life sneaking up on us!
This week on Slip-Sliding About, Edition #114:
Designing my perfect day
Traipsing Tidbits: floodplains, AI science translation, expat reading, and a holiday gift.
HE’S BAAAACK: Mr. T Rex tries his claws at track coaching.
What’s my perfect day look like?
Recently a friend mentioned their goal of aiming to make their days perfect. Not an indulgence-filled last day on earth (we’d eat too much cake!), but a repeatable, enjoyable, productive day that moves a life forward. A typical Tuesday.
Like Annie Dillard says,
How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives. What we do with this hour, and that one, is what we are doing. A schedule defends from chaos and whim. It is a net for catching days.
It got me thinking about netting my perfect day. I’ve considered general items before, but never pondered it and written things down. Why don’t they teach us these things in school?!
These perfect days of course change depending on the season or if I’m traveling. I’m 100% sure they will change in the future, but for this time in my life, here’s what mine looks like.
My Perfect Day
Starting with my energy turned inward with learning and creativity:
Morning reading with a cup of tea, a fruit plate, and listening to piano music.
Writing, either stream of consciousness or a blog post/newsletter
Anki study for Italian, Spanish, music theory, and other things I’m learning (here’s my how-to for setting it up)
Shifting my focus outward later in the day:
Connection with Chelsea, friends, and family
Exercise, ideally outside
Reading my favorite newsletters
Moving one “adulting” thing forward
Cooking healthy food
An evening wind down:
A walk with Chelsea
Evening drawing session with tea and piano music
In bed early to read, ideally some fiction
Overall, I'm striving for what Ryan Holiday says in Stillness Is The Key,
The truth is that a good routine is not only a source of great comfort and stability, it’s the platform from which stimulating and fulfilling work is possible. Routine, done for long enough and done sincerely enough, becomes more than routine. It becomes ritual—it becomes sanctified and holy.
What a goal! Ritual, every day that we can. Yes please.
Things I've noticed about my perfect days
After aiming for a perfect day for awhile, I've stumbled upon some preferences:
-Painting an exact picture of the activity (“reading while enjoying a fruit plate”) makes it even more desirable than just “reading.”
-Days where I don’t look at my phone for the first few hours usually feel more satisfying.
-Having non-negotiable practices anchors my day. For me right now, that’s piano and Italian study: no matter what derails me, accomplishing those makes my day feel successful.
-I meditated daily for awhile. Lately, it hasn’t felt necessary or valuable, so I dropped it (probably to my detriment). However, the mental state I get into with piano centers me in a powerful way, so I’m going with it! (I realize they accomplish different things…my Buddhist mom is rolling her eyes at this paragraph for suuuure.)
-At this moment in my life, I don’t feel drawn to passive entertainment like T.V., movies or social media. With so much I want to study and learn, those things make me feel like I’m wasting my time. I’ve enjoyed them to some degree in the past, but right now they aren’t in line with how I want to spend my time.
- I’m doing things (I think) my future self will thank me for. That they also happen to be activities I’m really enjoying is probably a function of doing them because I want to, not because I feel like I SHOULD..
-I’ve dropped activities where my obsessive, competitive side surfaces like a deranged Leviathan from the deep. (Cough, chess…)
What about your perfect day?
Can you design yours? Not an ideal Saturday or beach day in Hawaii, but a typical weekday.
Is it possible to start with things you want to do before adulting swamps all efforts to pursue creativity, exercise, learning or whatever else floats your boat?
Things to consider:
What one or two things make any day successful?
Can you nudge one thing forward each day?
Is there an energy flow that works best for you? (e.g. I like to spend mornings alone)
Traipsing About Tidbits
These visualizations of rivers and floodplains are stunning (thanks to public USGIS data!).
If you’ve ever tried to decipher a complicated scientific paper and
felt dumbfailed miserably, next time try AI-driven ExplainPaper.
Quote of the Week
Writer Wes Angelozzi on acceptance:
Go and love someone exactly as they are. And then watch how quickly they transform into the greatest, truest version of themselves. When one feels seen and appreciated in their own essence, one is instantly empowered.
My note: ah, how much this also applies to self-love and accepting ourselves!
You’ve reached il fine of Traipsing About newsletter #114.
This week’s unsolicited advice: brainstorm your perfect day, write it down, and try it out! Have fun dreaming. And here's to perfect days, or as close as we can realistically get to them.
Til next time…ciao ciao.
P.S. If the World Cup showcased as much drama as tee ball, even more people would talk about it! (Thanks, Jesse.)
Thanks for reading Traipsing About! Want more like this? You know what to do!