How To Do Life

Fresh ideas about career and personal issues

In Praise of a Normal Day

A normal day is underappreciated.

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You’re probably sick of being told to feel grateful for the simple things. But because we so often forget, I want to devote today’s post to that. I especially feel that way today because I just turned 64, that age that sounded so ancient when the Beatle song asked, “Will you still need me, will you still feed me, when I’m 64?”

Nothing special happened today. It was a normal day.

I woke up having slept through the night. I think of how many people didn’t.

On awakening, I said hello to my good wife of 41 years and my good doggie. I think of how many people wake to worse.

I walk my dog to the doggie door (He prefers being escorted.) I realize I live in a nicer place than do most people on the planet.

I weigh myself. Yes I’m 10 percent overweight but am grateful that at age 64, I don’t have a bigger health problem than that.

I take a shower. The water is hot. The shower head is adjustable so it feels perfect. A simple pleasure that billions of people on the planet don’t experience, let alone daily.

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I walk to my home office. I realize how many people have long commutes to less-rewarding jobs.

I look at my email. I realize how many people have less interesting in-boxes.

I drink a cup of good coffee while reading my email. In a peaceful room. I’m grateful I’m not in a cacophonous cube farm.

I greet my first client: someone with a manageable problem: a new-college grad who’s having trouble figuring out what he wants to do with his life. I’m grateful for such work.

My next client is a burned-out lawyer. Again, what a privilege to help such a person.

Lunch: To think I can have a fresh salad with tomatoes and blue cheese, a piece of rye bread, followed by dessert of yogurt and a banana, all that cost me a total of maybe two bucks To think of how much expertise and effort went into creating all those and getting them to Trader Joe’s so I could effortlessly throw them into my cart and buy them for an amount even very low-income Americans could afford.

My next client isn’t such a blessing: a 35-year-old bright but unmotivated guy who has spent most of his life hanging out and smoking pot. Baby steps. Baby steps.

Next, I review two one-minute videos I wrote and acted in to drive home a PsychologyToday posts One was on  how it feels to be ignored, the other on developing willpower. Thanks to countless smart nerds including videographer Sean Nipper, I was able to create them easily and affordably. I am grateful.

Next, I drive my doggie, Einstein to our favorite hiking spot. I can’t believe that I have put 244,000 miles on my Prius and it remains trouble-free. Indeed, the whole idea of a car and the freedom it provides is a miracle to me.

I am grateful that at my age, I still  hike faster than most people and that my doggie, Einstein, seems to enjoy walking at the pace I like. 

I return home to write my daily post for PsychologyToday, which you are reading. I am privileged to know that every day, people will read what I write.

My wife and I enjoy a cup of hot chocolate together.

I find comfort in my bedtime ritual of listening to a CD. Tonight it is William Hurt reading short stories.

I put my head on the pillow and even though I’m an atheist, I say aloud to The Fates, “Thank you for letting me have a productive and pleasurable day.”

I am most grateful for a normal day.

Marty Nemko’s bio is in Wikipedia.

Marty Nemko is a career and personal coach based in Oakland, Ca. and the author of 7 books. 
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