By Gwenn Voelckers
The month of May is all about new growth and new beginnings.
If you could do anything your heart desires, how would you spend a perfect day in May?
I was presented with this question a while ago, and it got me thinking. I began to fantasize about what my perfect day would include. The more I thought about it, the more excited I got about making my perfect day a reality.
One of the many benefits of living alone is that you have the freedom to choose exactly how you spend your time and energy. Maybe you’re looking for some introspective time to yourself. Or maybe you’ve had enough “alone time” lately and would enjoy the company of friends.
Perhaps, like me, your perfect day would include a little bit of both.
Like anything worthwhile, creating a perfect day takes a little thought and pre-planning. In preparation, you might ask yourself these questions:
• With whom do I want share this precious day?
• Which activities bring meaning to my life?
• What brings me joy? And, conversely, what steals my joy?
• What inspires me to be my best self?
Of course, there’s no such thing as a universal perfect day. Each of us is unique and will define our perfect day differently.
And by “perfect,” I don’t mean a day without hiccups or disappointments.
Perfect, in my mind, includes all the imperfections that come with being human and living in the real world.
A day that includes changes, challenges and snafus is also an opportunity to demonstrate your smarts. Not to mention your resilience! You get the opportunity to solve problems and prove to yourself that you are resourceful and wise.
How perfect is that?!
After giving the questions above serious consideration, I designed a perfect day for myself in early May. I’ve included it here, in hopes that it might inspire you to embrace this exercise and seize the day.
5:30 a.m. — Rising and Shining
I’m an early riser, so my perfect day began like every other — before sunrise. It seems the older I get, the less sleep I need. For me, it’s bonus “me time” in the morning to gently ease into my daily routine.
No jarring alarm clock startles me awake; I rely on my biological clock. My eyes naturally open when my body is rested after a good night’s sleep. I stretch in bed and then roll out to pull on yesterday’s jeans to start my perfect day.
6 a.m. — Contemplating and Reflecting
After feeding my cat Little Merry and brewing a cup of coffee, I settled onto my couch to meditate and set my intentions for the day. Little Merry popped up on my lap and together our breathing synced in the stillness.
I began my day feeling grounded with an open heart, filled with gratitude.
7 a.m. — Moving and Communing with Nature
As the sun rose over the tree tops, I made my way to the trail head of a nearby park. Walking is a daily ritual for me, which — no surprise — was part of my perfect day. Not only was I moving (my joints thanked me), I was moved by the serene beauty, earthy aromas, and the warmth of fresh spring air.
I find my spiritual bearings in nature.
8:30 a.m. — Taking Care of Business
After my invigorating walk, I returned home to enjoy a healthy breakfast, while scanning the news headlines. Then, I turned my attention to taking care of some household chores and tasks that come with being solely responsible for my home and property.
Far from burdensome, I take these responsibilities in stride and feel pride and, yes, even joy when I fulfill my obligations to myself and others.
I made my bed, answered emails, paid bills, confirmed several Airbnb reservations, took out the trash, did laundry, you name it. I did what needed to be done. And that felt good!
10 a.m. — Practicing for Perfection (well, not quite)
As a budding percussionist for the New Horizons community jazz band, I picked up my drum sticks, tambourine, shaker and cow bell for a good 45 minutes of practice.
On this perfect day, I decided not to admonish myself for my fledgling attempts to better my technique. I love supporting my fellow percussionists and I gave myself a big high-five for making progress — however slowly.
11 a.m. — Playing Pickleball
My perfect day would not be complete if I didn’t indulge in my new obsession: pickleball.
I arrived at the court to find my new community of friends ready to slam the wiffle ball across the net (not!). We are a kind clan. We laugh, we encourage each other to stop apologizing for our mis-hits and we valiantly try to keep track of the score. It’s so much fun! And it’s great aerobic exercise — good for the heart on so many levels.
2 p.m. — Pampering Myself
Exhausted (in a good way) after two hours of pure exhilaration on the pickleball court, I decided to do something just for me. Goodness knows my muscles needed some TLC and I wanted some pampering.
In anticipation of my perfect day, I booked a Swedish massage for May 1. It goes without saying — it was “perfekt!” That’s perfect in Swedish.
3 p.m. — Committing a Random Act of Kindness
My day wouldn’t be perfect without doing a little something for someone else, without expecting anything in return.
On my perfect day I made it happen. On my way home from the spa, I saw the contents of my neighbor’s recycling bin blown helter-skelter. I stopped, gathered up the paper and plastic and returned the items to the bin.
This small act kindness put a spring in my step!
3:30 p.m. — Taking a Catnap
Need I say more?
4 p.m. — Enjoying Some Free Time
Feeling rested, I enjoyed a few hours of unstructured time to do whatever struck my fancy. On this particular day, I did some spring clean-up in my yard and gardens, swept out the barn, and refilled my birdfeeders. Then, I came inside to relax, read and do a little online shopping.
A perfect day for me will always include free time to do nothing or to do something, to work or to play, or experiment and learn something new.
7 p.m. — Sharing a Meal with People I Love
I’m lucky this way: It’s not unusual to find myself at my sister Anne’s home to enjoy one of her incredible gourmet meals and the good company of her family.
Spoiler alert: I was there on my perfect day. We ate, we laughed, and just hung out (until it was time to do the dishes and I made a bee-line for the door). Kidding!
It was a perfect and delicious ending to a perfect day. I was with people I love.
What could be better?
10 p.m. — Hitting the Sack
Early to bed, with a Rick Steves travel guide in hand, is the perfect nightcap for me. So that’s how I wrapped up my wonderful day.
Before I nodded off to sleep, I asked myself: What made this day so perfect? Why do I feel so content? The answer came quickly: connections.
My perfect day was filled with connections — with myself, with nature, my best friends, and with family.
So, what’s your perfect day? Whatever it is, make it happen. Trust me, you’ll feel renewed and reinvigorated from the inside out.
And that’s a perfect combination!