I think we are tempted, at times, to measure the value of our life by our big moment experiences. We read about those who climb Mount Everest or run a marathon or swim the English Channel or … Maybe our life seems pale and watered down in comparison, as though we haven’t really lived if we haven’t leapt willingly with benefit of parachute from an airplane at ten thousand feet or rode a bucking bull who would be quite happy to kill us given the opportunity or went to a depth of 12,500 feet, 370 miles off the south-southeast coast of Newfoundland in the Atlantic Ocean to get a closer look at the Titanic. Now that I am occupying a spot in the line called the lean years, meaning there are fewer doors to open and fewer curtains to peek behind, my idea of value has changed or maybe I always felt this way but am only coming to recognize my own measuring devices.
If we stack up our days, side by side, there are very few of them that have the big moments. Most of us are not Olympic athletes, we’ve not taken on Roger Federer in Centre Court nor scored the winning goal from outside the blue line in a Stanley Cup final. Remembering to floss our teeth before we call it a day seems accomplishment enough on many of those days we are stacking up. I think a successful day is having had a good enough day.
Good enough days are the stuff of life, the things we can overlook or take for granted, losing sight of how very valuable such days are. A good enough day is licking “pralines and cream” from a sugar cone. A good enough day is seeing the sunflower seeds I saved from last year are all coming up, without exception. A good enough day is hearing the sound of each of my daughters’ voices, listening to their good and bad news, because many days come with both. A good enough day is going out for breakfast and having the best cup of coffee you’ve ever tasted. A good enough day is watching a heavy rainstorm from inside, knowing your roof is not going to collapse and everything that is growing is getting a big drink. A good enough day is riding your bicycle between two wild rose bushes and almost becoming airborne with the glorious aroma that lingers still in the nostrils of your memory. A good enough day is having a conversation bordering on a debate about a matter you are passionate about and after the conversation is over you felt heard. A good enough day is flipping through old photo albums and remembering the fun of childhood, a childhood full of good enough days – riding your bike no hands, swimming to the three-foot dock at The Point without anyone tagging along to make sure you don’t drown. Wait, that is one of those big moment sorts of days; it snuck into the list of good enough days without my notice along with the first time driving the car on your own with your driver’s licence hot off the press in your right hand back pocket.
A good enough day is having friends drop over and your house is reasonably clean, and you don’t resemble a homeless person. A good enough day is your cat placing his head on your knee with a look of innocence after you have discovered the screens he has almost torn to shreds and you were wondering how long it would take to strangle him with your bare hands. A good enough day is unlocking your mailbox and finding a letter from an old friend and tearing the envelope open to read it right there on the spot. A good enough day is slipping into the lake on a very hot day and feeling at once the euphoria of being weightless and cool. A good enough day is writing my thoughts on paper and having them show up, as if by magic, in my precious hometown newspaper and pretending I never wandered away.