19: A day in the life.

- January 15, 2017 -

“How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives,” Annie Dillard writes. “What we do with this hour, and that one, is what we are doing.”

I love the matter-of-factly way in which she states this, the of course which makes it abundantly clear that this should, by now, be obvious to us.

More often than not, though, it isn’t obvious at all. Whether it’s this day or the next one, I doubt that very many of us are cognizant of the fact that it is precisely these days — not the days of some distant future or long-forgotten past — which make up our lives.

No, rarely do we imagine such modest units of time as being of any great significance. Instead, we view our lives in grand, sweeping terms, in months and years and decades, in future accomplishments and past regrets.

When you think about it, though, what is it that these larger units of time, these months and years and decades, are made up of?

. . .

There are few of us, I imagine, who genuinely feel as though we did all that we could have done during the previous year, who hit every goal and exceeded every expectation.

I can’t help but wonder, though, if perhaps our dissatisfaction with our performance in the previous year is precisely what makes the new year such a crucial, such a necessary time of growth. Perhaps we need these moments of regret, of uncertainty, of frustration in order to wake us up to the realization that there is, in fact, a great deal of potential inherent to each and every day.

After all, by the end of the year, when we’re forced to add up all 365 of our most recent days, does it not become abundantly clear just how much we could have done with all of that time — with all of those hours, and all of those days?


As always,
– J


This piece comes from Jana Marie’s newsletter, The Sunday Letters. You can sign up to receive future editions below.