How To Make The Most Out Of Every Day (Even The Bad Ones)

A man staring off into the sunrise at the shore

So life has seen fit to bless me with some good changes in life, with one particular shakeup being a new career trajectory.

But that also means less time for my blog and novels—especially for staring out the window and pondering the next sentences in my story.

These days it’s just bam-bam-bam. Got a blog idea? Bang out those few paragraphs any time I can. A new plot direction? Put it on paper first and think about it later.

How nice to be able to have free time on the weekends, I’d think. Then I can really do what I want.

That’s a dangerous way of thinking, though. Because you know what tends to happen when you start to look forward to the weekends? Your weekdays cease to have meaning. But that’s not the goal in life. The main goal is to find meaning in every day.

So, here I am, no longer waiting to cash in on my life’s bonds. I’m choosing instead to be happy with my mental bank balance, no matter the figure. But how?

Exercise is king

This is non-negotiable. Not because I’m into hustle culture or have aspirations to be a fitfluencer. Instead, it’s because an endorphin state of mind makes the mundane more interesting, all while reducing the severity of my life’s problems.

The version of me who tries to tackle the day without first donning my endorphin armour is a pain to be around. There’s no way I can do my day justice without first being in the right mindset. And movement helps with that.

Also, being physical increases my chance of being physical. An upward spiral, if you will.

So regardless if it’s a day of back-to-back photoshoots or an eventless weekend, I’ll still find the time to slot in some sort of physical work. It’s choosing to exercise no matter what comes my way, just so that I can better face whatever comes my way.

There’s always time for mental recovery

David Goggins calls this his ‘mental aid stations’. Throughout his day—and his days are packed to the brim—he’ll manage to find little moments to recuperate from his gruelling workouts, like while eating or bathing. And if Goggins can find breaks in his day, why can’t an Average Joe like me do the same?

I’ve been finding refuge in my hour-long commute, especially during bumper-to-bumper traffic. Yes, I’d much rather be home than stuck in my car, but being alone (and having an excuse to do so) is a rather therapeutic time of the day.

It’s where I can think about my writing, my future, and the plans I wish to apply to my life. No other time of the day allows for as quiet and long a contemplation as when I’m driving to work.

Plus, even if life were to turn up the intensity knob, I’ll still have it pretty good. I’m not caught in a war-torn country nor am I a prisoner of war. In that sense, I’ll always have the freedom to find my own mental aid stations, no matter how life turns out.

Love is the greatest emotion

You know how people recommend you to volunteer to feel better about yourself? Well, as it turns out, you don’t have to wait until you get a slot in your local soup kitchen. You can just choose to give your love and time freely, right here right now.

How I personally do this is by helping people at work. Sure I’m paid to do what I do, but whenever a colleague asks for help, I make sure to do all I can to make their life better (it helps that my new colleagues are pretty darn cool people).

Some people look at this as others shirking their responsibilities onto you. I see it as being a positive presence in the world.

Besides, seeing myself as useful tends to quieten the negative thoughts I tend to harbour in my mind. So in that sense, I’m benefitting way more than the people in need.

Know that your problems are also your gifts

Life will never be perfect. And our pursuit towards nirvana isn’t a one-off destination we can just reach and be done with.

There are going to be ups and downs. You’ll sell a short story. You’ll get your dream job. You’ll be rejected for years. You’ll be retrenched.

Life always changes. But one thing that remains constant is that you will still be you. You’ll live. You’ll breathe. And you’ll face your day, voluntarily or not.

Sure, you could come up with a thousand ways how your life could be better, but I believe that no matter how sucky the day is, you’ll always tend to miss it after a certain time has passed. So why not enjoy it now instead of looking back wistfully ten years into the future?

Fun stuff is always funner after sacrifice

While you might hate waking up in the dark for work, it also gives so much more meaning to sipping a coffee at sunrise.

Yes, you may only have half an hour to write now, compared to the entire day before you had kids, but that only means you get to appreciate your writing time that much more.

Besides, joy is a very fickle thing. Think about all the recreational time you get in life: Netflix, YouTube, video games, eating. Would you feel happy if you had months on end to binge on said activities? Or would you feel better enjoying them after getting the rest of your life in order?

Plus—and I know I’ve said this before—you become so much more effective at any task when you’re tight for time. I know I write more when I’m busy with life, versus the times when I get to lounge around as much as I want.

Today is a blessing

I guess my point for this post is that the day will still pass, whether you like it or not, so you might as well find ways to do the former.

After all, life is not a game of roulette where you spin the wheel and hope you get the number you’d banked on. Instead, it’s more a game of poker where you’re dealt a hand and still choose what happens, despite your initial luck.

The ‘gurus’ of today would tell you to appreciate the day. To be thankful that you’re alive. I say scratch that. Being alive has its own set of problems and worries. But you know what? That doesn’t mean you can’t give life a run for its money.

You could operate out of love and aspire to be the best person you can be. Or you can be spiteful, and be dragged kicking and screaming to your grave, refusing to allow your problems to get the best of you.

Either way, there’s no reason why you can’t kick ass, regardless of the hand you’ve been dealt. The way I see it, you always have a choice on how you wish to face the day.

And if you choose to smile regardless of what’s thrown your way, you’ve already won.

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