One-of-a-Kind Day

“Don’t wait for everything to be perfect before you decide to enjoy your life.”

Joyce Meyer

In one of the Christmas cards I received was a note from the sender. He commented it had been a long time since I posted in my blog. I can’t argue with him because it has been a long time. I have a bunch of ideas for posts swirling around in my head, waiting for me to work on them. Now that I know someone has been waiting for me to write I decided to get to work today.

There are two things that inspired today’s post. The first came from my brother who created an imaginary holiday based on Marcel Proust’s book “In Search of Lost Time or Remembrance of Things Past”. In the book the narrator takes a bite of a madeleine with his tea and is immediately flooded with a memory from his childhood – the taste, the smells, the images from that time. These memories are involuntary, springing from a bite of that cookie. The second inspiration came from the novel “The Lincoln Highway” by Amor Towles. One character comments how his recent life had been very predictable. At any given time of the day he could tell you precisely what he would have been doing. All he wanted in life was a day like no other – a one-of-a-kind day.

After listening to my brother talk about his imaginary holiday and reading about Amor Towles’ character who longed for a one-of-a-kind day, I looked back at my life. What moments have I had where something as simple as a smell or taste could carry me back to another time? Did I have memories of a day that was so special, unlike any other day I had lived? It didn’t take me long to begin to tick off a list of my special days, my own one-of-a-kind days. Not surprising to me many of them were days when I ran a marathon or half marathon. The 6 World Marathon Majors were at the top of my list. In my mind I can relive every moment in each. They are memories that are seared in my brain. Mention a race and immediately my brain rolls the film with all the sights, sounds, smells, and feels (including the physical pain – it wouldn’t be an endurance race without the pain!). Last month as I read various runners’ accounts of their experiences running the New York City Marathon on social media, I found myself back there, reliving a race that was particularly memorable for me. I could feel the cold as I sat on Staten Island waiting for the start. I could hear the crowd of spectators along the course. I could even see the signs they held to encourage the runners. I felt as exhilarated as the day I ran the race. It was a wonderful feeling.

I have had other one-of-a-kind days that didn’t involve running. The best example is the day I saw the marathon monk in Kyoto. I can feel the heat from the sun, taste the ice cream we ate as we waited for the marathon monk to appear, hear the tap-tap of his staff as he approached, smell the incense we burned after he passed, and feel the sense of peace I felt after I saw him. It was most definitely a one-of-a-kind day.

One-of-a-kind days don’t just happen. Life is busy and falling into a routine is pretty easy to do. But we need to make room in our lives for special times, the kind that aren’t predictable and give us those memories that can help buoy our spirits in difficult times. My memories of my one-of-a-kind days have helped transport me from the confines of my home to happier times, particularly during my COVID isolation.

At this time of year people set goals for the upcoming year. If you are setting personal goals, make one of those goals your own special one-of-a-kind day. Your goal doesn’t have to be running a particular race. It can be simply taking a day to do something special you have put off doing because you were too busy. You can create your own one-of-a-kind day.

I enjoy reading as much as I enjoy running. “The Lincoln Highway” was one book I read and think about frequently. I highly recommend it. It would make a great Christmas gift to any readers on your gift list. I have Proust’s book in my queue of books to read. I hope it is one that I will remember.

Read about my New York City Marathon memory here:

Here is a link to my blog post about my marathon monk:

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