I know, I know. You’re probably reading the title of this post and thinking “you can’t live every day twice, Kelly. Come on now.” And you would be right, to an extent. But I have recently adopted a new way of thinking, and at the core of it is this one simple concept: if you live each day as normal, with all its tensions and worries, you will miss all the beautiful moments and small pleasures life has to offer. By living it twice, you are instead choosing to make the most of those moments, and subsequently your life—something we all forget sometimes I think.
One of my favorite films is “About Time,” which stars Rachel McAdams and Domhnall Gleeson. Maybe the fact that it stars one of my favorite actresses has something to do with it being a favorite, but the story line had stayed with me from the first time I watched it. It follows the life of Tim Lake, a young man from England that is gifted with the uncanny ability to travel through time. His father advises him to use his gift to travel back in time and relive every day twice, making a point to notice all of the little things that would typically slip through the cracks. What Tim quickly realizes is how many moments he had taken for granted, ignored, or simply under appreciated, and it made me think about how many days I had done the same.
Sadly I am not blessed with the ability to turn back time and pop up in the moments of my life I wish to re-do, but I do have the ability to recognize when I am taking my day for granted, ignoring those so called “little things,” and failing to appreciate each day. Think of yourself as an artist in charge of “painting” of your life, and while there are thousands of colors out there to choose from and utilize, you have only tapped into a few. Wouldn’t you prefer to have access to every color? Now take my analogy and apply it to your own life. Chances are you have been missing out on things just like I have, and so I began to seriously think about how I could change that, and what I realized is that it ultimately comes down to my choices.
Think about how many decisions you make in a single day, and I mean truly think about it. We choose when to set our alarm, when to finally get out of bed, what to eat, what to wear…every word you we and thought we have is a choice. Studies show that the average adult makes an average of 35,000 choices a day (!) So, I started to force myself to be more aware of my choices and decisions instead of letting them slip into my sub conscious thought like I did before. And you want to know what happened? I began to live my life with real and true intent.
I would spend hours, days, weeks going through the motions and making the same choices every day; cereal for breakfast, yoga pants to class, take a nap instead of hit the gym…because those were the easy choices. I found that I never moved forward with my goals when I was living that way. I became stagnant, and a big factor was my fear of failure and change. I grew comfortable with my routine and making the same choices every day, and pretty soon the life I had grown so comfortable with became precisely what I feared most. The unknown is scary, but so is staying the same!
If I told you that in 10 years time you would be doing the very same thing you are now, would that scare you? Would you be satisfied with that or want more for yourself? Well, the idea of that scared the daylights right out of me, and it took something as simple as a lesson in a movie to reiterate to myself that we get to decide every day how we want to live and who we want to be. It may sound cheesy and romanticized, but it really is as simple and as true as that. The sooner I started to live each day as though it was my second time through, the sooner it started to change for the better. Life is too short to coast through the motions or get caught up in things that don’t matter. Instead we need to do a better job of reveling in the tiny things that make it so great.
So, if you are feeling stuck or lost with where you are now, I challenge you to live today as though it is the second time through. Decide every day to be a good friend, family member and person. Do something that you’ve always wanted to but were previously too scared to try. The worst thing to happen is you fail, and that used to be something I would never accept for myself. But the older I get and the more I learn, the more obvious it is to me that without failure we never improve. Whatever you choose to do, commit to it and embrace it fully, because if you can’t do that why do it at all?