The rest of Horace’s famous quote is often overlooked by most folks. The whole phrase is “Carpe diem quam minimum credulo postero”.
Roughly translated, it means “Seize the day, don’t wait for tomorrow”, or perhaps “put minimum credence in tomorrow”. There are a number of slight variations. “Don’t put off to tomorrow what can be done today.” or even “Don’t do today what can be put off indefinitely!”.
Sometimes we can “seize the day”, embrace it, race headlong into it smiling ear-to-ear with vigor. Those are some of the greatest days, providing moments to remember, the high spots in our lives.
Other times, it seems we just can’t pull it together, or something slams our great day and tries to run it off the rails.
Two mantras I use for days that will not be seized:
“You can turn your day around!”
“Know when to write off a day.”.
The first one is obvious. Some difficulty or semi-disaster doesn’t have to mean you spend the rest of the day in the doldrums. There are a variety of things you can do, from internal dialogue to acceptance. A change of venue. Plow forward in spite of trouble. Take a break, take a walk, take a breather, take the afternoon off. It’s a matter of keeping a positive attitude and doing something, whatever is within your bag of tricks, to break the chain of negativity, and let the rest of the day unfold on its own. Sometimes, a little stick-to-it-iveness is all it takes, and what seemed a bad day can turn out to be grand, or at least survivable.
The second one is of equal importance. Know when to write off a day. Sometimes, all the pushing of the proverbial rock up the hill just ends up with the rock rolling back over you. Repeatedly.
You woke up late on the one day of the week when you have a meeting at 8 and have to be on time. Then you go to make coffee and that’s when you remember you forgot to buy the coffee yesterday. Then you discover that your clothes don’t just need a fluff ‘n’fold, but somehow the dirty laundry bypassed the hamper and ended up in the clean basket. You go to brush your teeth and the hot water faucet comes off in your hand, so you go to brush your teeth in the kitchen only to discover the water heater has tripped a breaker, and the water is ice-cold. You go out to your car to discover you left the door open and the seat has snow on it, and as you grumble and sit down with no coffee and cold teeth in your dirty pants on the seat full of snow you discover the dome light has been on all night and the battery is dead. You jump-start the car with the lawn tractor which you thankfully neglected to put in the barn before the snow flew, and slam the car in gear only to find you have a flat tire.
Know when to write off a day.
“Yeah, Hi Kelly, I won’t be in today. Tell them I’ll phone into the meeting and attend on speakerphone.”
The rest of the day I set my sites on tomorrow. It’s one day out of the 28,000 I’m allotted. Let it go.
Well, maybe I’ll try fixing that faucet. What? I left my tools at work?
Back to bed.
Be at peace,