One Perfect Day

29-Aug-2014

It only took a few months of working for myself to realize that being your boss doesn’t always feel so dreamy. You still have deadlines and tricky clients (or lack thereof) to manage. You might find that your newfound flexibility is a double-edged sword that has you working evenings and weekends rather than 9-5. And trading in stifling security for vast uncertainty sometimes has you wondering which is the better deal. 

My motivation for being a self-employed creative entrepreneur is to be wildly productive and living the dream – for my days to always feel ideal or at the very least to feel like they’re on my own terms. It sounds hedonistic, yes, but I’ve learned that living the dream takes equal parts vision, discipline, and perspective. 

My sister (and business partner) Tara recently let me borrow a book called Gift from the Sea by Anne Morrow Lindbergh. This book was originally published in 1955 but it’s themes of slowing down, craving a simple life free from distractions, being a creative, being a feminist, and managing a work / life balance as a mom and wife … they strike as eerily relevant over half a century later. Anne Lindbergh wrote Gift from the Sea when she took a brief solo sabbatical to an island. Lindbergh intentionally makes space from everyday demands she encourages her readers to do so as well. She actually recommends taking a week a year for yourself, a day a week, and an hour a day. 

You’ll have to read the book yourself – you’ll feel like you’re doing yourself a classy favor. (Bonus points if you drink it with a glass of white wine on your screened-in porch.) But I wanted to share this one excerpt where Lindbergh talks about designing one perfect day. It resonated as I’m always examining my days and what could make it more ideal, or dreamy, or productive. So, Lindbergh describes her most perfect day in detail – from slow coffee to meditatively washing dishes to undistracted writing time to bringing the day down by sipping on sherry, sharing stories, and taking a long walk along the sea. Lindbergh then ruminates on what makes it so perfect. Here’s what she writes:



What a wonderful day … What has made it so perfect? Is there not some clue here in the pattern of this day? To begin with, it is a pattern of freedom. Its setting has not been cramped in space or time. An island, curiously enough, gives a limitless feeling of both. Nor has the day been limited in kinds of activity. It has a natural balance of physical, intellectual, and social life. It has an easy unforced rhythm. Work is not deformed by pressure. Relationship is not strangled by claims. Intimacy is tempered by lightness of touch. We have moved through our day like dancers, not needing to touch more than lightly because we were instinctively moving to the same rhythm. 

She goes on to articulate the importance of being present and what that looks like. For as much as I’ve been told to “be present”, I’ve never heard it described in a better way: 

The joy of such a pattern is not only the joy of creation or the joy of participation, it is also the joy of living in the moment. Lightness of touch and living in the moment are intertwined. One cannot dance well unless one is completely in time with the music, not leaning back to the last step or pressing forward to the next one, but poised directly on the present step as it comes.

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In our next Letters for Creatives I’ll be sharing more ideas on how to make your days a bit more perfect and what I’ve learned in my own chase for the ideal day. Plus, when you sign up for our newsletter you’ll get your own worksheet on how to design your own ideal day (but I’ll be sure to include it in our Letter in case you missed it the first time around). You can sign up for our Letters here. 

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