One Day at a Time

trees“It’s amazing how the cheesy quotes we say in my twelve-step program are actually profound, if you think about them.”

My friend smiles sheepishly at me after saying this in the café where we sit together. The phrase floats between us.

One day at a time.

Ha. Easier said than done. If I were honest, I’d say I try to live a week’s worth of life every day—my husband might increase that estimate to two week’s worth of work. I pile tasks, relationships, and plans into every spare moment.

There’s an essential beauty to living in each day that I miss so very often. Sure, I got ten things knocked off my list (I wanted to get twelve, so I’m annoyed), but did I pause and smile at my neighbor’s two-year-old grandson when he chirped a greeting in English and Vietnamese? Did I pull my laptop into my yard so the sunshine could kiss me?

Efficiency and productivity can come at a high cost when I don’t know how to say “enough is enough.”

One day at a time.

Not surprisingly, I’d label myself as an impatient person. And yet, no matter what I do, my book will be edited one day at a time, my baby boy in my tummy will grow one day at a time, my husband and I are going to figure out planning to be parents (*panicked laughter*) one day at a time.

I can’t speed up these processes, no matter how ambitious my thoughts.

I believe in five-year plans. I really do. They stress me out because I immediately start building the to-do lists for reaching those massive goals. Yet, those big long-term plans are healthy to me only if they make my day-to-day focused, while still allowing me to sit and rest when the evening arrives.

There’s a proverb in Ecclesiastes about how important it is for us to work hard then pause to enjoy our food and friendship.

All of us have some kind of work to do. So I say let’s do our best at it. And when the day is done, whether frustrating or empowering, let’s kick back, fill out bellies with something tasty, and enjoy the people share our meal with.

That’s enough till tomorrow’s sun rises.

One day at a time.

I’ll make the wild assumption that a lot of us struggle with doing this. What have you found that helps you?

About Elise

Elise Stephens began her career in writing at age six, illustrating her own story books and concocting wild adventures. Stephens counts authors Neil Gaiman, C.S. Lewis, and Margaret Atwood among her literary mentors, and has studied under Orson Scott Card. She dreams often of finding new ways to weave timeless truths into her stories. Her novels include Moonlight and Oranges (2011), Forecast (2013), and Guardian of the Gold Breathers (2015), a finalist for the INDIEFAB Book of the Year. She lives in Seattle with her family. Follow her on Twitter @elisestephens and Author Elise Stephens on Facebook.

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