There are days in our life that matter more than the other days. The days that matter do so for various reasons. Some of those days are momentous days, achieved only after a year, two or ten or forty, of hard and dedicated work. This is when you are gifted the gold watch for your time spent. The day you are handed a meaningful piece of paper that proclaims your knowledge or skill. The days you win. The days someone is born or the day someone near to you dies. The days we rejoice and the days we mourn, the days when the things that we remember happen. These are the days that shape our lives, right?
What if we’ve been lied to this entire time, and as a point of fact, these are not the days that actually matter? What if the days we see as the highpoint or the low point, the days we see as a victory or a crushing defeat, what if these aren’t the days at all? As I sit here this morning I can look back through my life in rewind, and I can see the days that should have mattered. The day I successfully passed my real estate course and exam? Anyone can do that, and I mean absolutely anyone. So that isn’t a day that matters, even if it was the day that would shape my future in almost every way. The day I met my wife was certainly an important day that had a hand in every single day that followed. The day I met my children was a terrific day, indeed, and from those individual days the course was charted for what would become of the rest of my days. But these are the days that I remember for what they were, for who they made me, for what they said about where I was and where I might go. It couldn’t be argued that they don’t matter, but they are benchmark days, a handful of them collected into one small pouch, numbering barely a few.
There are people who trade their lives for a job. A pension. The promise of someday freedom. If I just work for the next 11 years then I can take all of the other years off. If I get 74 hours in this week, then once the next seven years are over, I’ll have shaved 59 weeks off of my retirement age, and then I’ll be able to move to Pensacola. This is a thought process that leverages today for tomorrow. It trades a sunny Saturday when the lake is blowing bright, for a long lawn that grew too much after the Thursday rain to be ignored. It trades this week for some other week. It trades this Monday for a theoretical Monday, sometime far into the future. You know, that future that none of us are promised. Yet in spite of that awareness, we grind and we churn and we spin mostly in place. Moving forward, that’s what we’re doing. Bettering our tomorrow by sacrificing today. Trading this small thing for that far off grand thing. Where do we want to be? Somewhere else. When do I want to go there? In two and a half decades.
I admit I write this from a privileged position where the only thing shaping my days are the needs of innumerable clients who trust me to help guide their real estate decisions. This is an incredible position to be in, and I’m grateful for it every single day. But on a Sunday like yesterday, when my phone abruptly shut off and refused to turn back on, when the trout greedily ate our flies in spite of the heavy rain and stained water, when the afternoon was spent with my son and his friend hiking up a stream we had never, ever fished, is that a day that I should trade for something else? Is that a day like the one I wish for some day several years from now, the one that I have no promise of ever meeting? Is a day like yesterday, where I spent three hours riddled with anxiety over what calls and texts I was likely missing, is that a day I should have traded the calm of that stream for the stress of this desk?
What if, when the dust settles and we back to it, none of the big days are the ones on our minds? What if the day we took off to sail because the sky was right and the wind was blowing, what if that’s the day we remember the best? I have said over recent years that the best day of my life was spent doing little else but sitting by a pool in Cap Ferrat with my wife on the lawn chair next to me and a few espressos and desserts on the table in front of us. I’m mostly joking when I call that My Best Day, but what if I’m not? What if that’s just a day that I decided to trade the pace of modern day normalcy for the leisure of a day spent by a pool? When I take some time off once in a while, or I drive up to my cabin for 36 hours of fly fishing, I tell myself one thing. This is my life. There is nothing in the future that’s better than my present. These are the days that matter. A year from now will I regret not holding a stupid open house or sitting at my office on a Sunday morning returning phone calls that piled up on Saturday? Further, when my life is over, which may happen soon or sometime several decades from now, will I close my eyes and remember this desk? Likely, yes, I will. But will the days I spent in a stream with my son or on a sailboat with my daughter or lounging by a pool with my wife matter more than any of the other days? I think yes.
Above, May on the Laser, solo.