As I’m writing this, it’s a beautiful Monday morning in December (I usually write my posts on Saturday, stay tuned to find out why I’m writing this on Monday) in Atlanta. It’s 24 degrees outside, and there are still 4 inches of snow on the ground. The snow has been on the ground since Friday. Snow, in the South, during the week, creating a beautiful, marshmallow fluff covered landscape as far as my eye can see.
Here’s what happened. It started snowing Friday after Diana arrived at my house to record a couple of episodes of our Uniquely Brilliant podcast. We had already brainstormed topics for the week’s session, but we ditched those as we looked out the window at the beautiful snowfall. Instead, realizing that we would both prefer to be outside cavorting in that snow, we decided to talk about the massive importance of seizing the day.
I haven’t edited the carpe diem podcast episode yet, it’s scheduled for publication on December 20th, just in time for Christmas!! Shameless promotion here à If you’d like to get the podcast episode hot off the press, you can sign up on our podcast website. We publish it weekly on YouTube, iTunes, Google Play, and Soundcloud to make it convenient to listen to.
Seize the day
Back to seizing the day. Check this out. I had no idea that carpe diem was extracted from a longer Latin phrase.
“Carpe diem quam minimum credula postero” meaning “seize the day, trusting as little as possible in the future.” – the Urban Dictionary
Right? Trusting as little as possible in the future. Because, snow, in Atlanta, 6 inches of it on the ground for 4 days (so far). Who knows when that will happen again? I’ve been here my whole life and can only remember it happening a couple of times.
But that’s an easy example. Folks, it’s December. The holidays are here, a new year is on the horizon. Do you feel the pressure building up as you read this paragraph? I did. I had to remind myself to breathe. Why the pressure? Because of all the detritus from 2017 and the expectations for 2018 that are loaded into the 31 days that make up December.
Future casting (yes, I made it up)
Here’s the December conversation that’s playing on repeat in my head: “Wait, what about that marketing campaign that I was supposed to kick off 2 weeks ago! It’s two weeks til Christmas, I don’t even have a tree up yet! I need to work on my goals for 2018. I could have done better this year if I’d just fill in the blank here with one of 127 different things I should have done.”
And, boom, just like that, there is absolutely no way I am capable of seizing the day. Why? Because I’m too wired into both regrets and future casting. Seizing the day is about presence. It’s about being grounded in this moment right here, not thinking about shoulda, coulda. It’s about reaching out and grabbing what’s in front of me right now.
A Story about a Party
As I mentioned before, it’s Monday now and it started snowing on Friday and continued through Saturday morning. Luckily, I’d been grocery shopping on Thursday because the roads were bad Friday afternoon. Then, on Saturday, our power went out at 10:30am. And it was cold and icy, and there was no way anyone was getting out of our neighborhood.
Oh, did I mention, I was having a party here at my house on Sunday? At 1? Where people were to bring food and cheer to our girl, Kristi, who is 18 months into some major scary life stuff? And we were making holiday cookies to decorate? I had planned to shop for the party on Saturday. Right.
Here’s the thing. Most of the women coming to the party hadn’t seen each other in a long time. We used to teach together, and, over time, we’d quit teaching (me), retired, or moved to other schools. Plus we live all over Atlanta. It was a major feat to find a day in December where we could all be together. So, there was no way I was cancelling this party unless I absolutely had to.
Baby, it’s cold outside (and in)!
As Ken (my son) and I were keeping the fires stoked (literally) all day and all night Saturday, I finally emailed everyone (thank you AT&T for good coverage and a good data plan) and asked them to stay tuned – I’d email again Sunday morning with an update on the power situation.
Sunday dawned with that unbelievable brightness that can only be achieved with a deep snowfall – you know, when you have to squint for maximum vision and wrinkle creation. Then, our power came back on at 9:30.
As I walked around the house opening the blinds that we’d closed in a feeble attempt to contain the warmth in the house, I spied a Georgia Power truck driving slowly down thestreet, peering at the houses, checking to see if we had power – because daytime – you can’t tell if people’s lights are on!! So I raised the blinds in the dining room and waved at him enthusiastically and got a thumbs up in response. Love those linepeople.
So, I hustled to start the dishwasher (with its two days of dirty dishes cause I’m not one to wash dishes in freezing cold water!), make the gingerbread cookie dough so it could get cold enough to roll out, take a shower, clear the counters so we could roll out and decorate the cookies, and, and, and – you get the picture. People started arriving at 1 and we were off!
It was a fabulous party. We all had a blast. We hadn’t told Kristi who was coming or that we were filling her freezer so she was blown away. Tears, laughter, imploding mini gingerbread houses. We all showed up in spite of the snow and ice and had a fabulous time. Who knows when we’ll all be together again? Carpe diem quam minimum credula postero.
This may never happen again.
Then, since our house was warm again, I decided to go out and get cold and wet. Ken and I went outside and I did something I’ve always wanted to do, I made a snow angel! Ken photographed it. I thoughtfully provided the picture right here in this blog. Can you tell I was having a supercalifragilisticexpialidocious time?
Folks. It’s December. There’s lots going on. We have plans, and expectations, and responsibilities, and so much we have to do. A lot of things have happened this year. A lot of things will happen next year.
In all the busyness that is part and parcel of the end of one year and the beginning of a new one, let’s remember that what matters, what we will remember, what will elevate us and propel us forward is what is happening right now.
We shall never pass this way again.
Seize the day.