My Perfect DayJul 24, 2019
I was having dinner with my friend, Rob, at the bar. It was a Friday and the alums were in town, so the place was packed. As the night wore on, the crowd thinned, likely off to their obligatory class dinners.
A new couple sat down next to us, joined by their college-age daughter. The dad was the alum, a pleasant-looking man in his mid-sixties, slightly overweight but very content and relaxed in his demeanor. An orthopedic surgeon from Philadelphia, the wife proudly revealed.
I asked her what she did in Philadelphia and she announced she was a cosmetic surgeon. “No way!”, I thought. I just didn't believe it. Clearly, she’d had plenty of “procedures,” but she did not have the bedside manner of a surgeon. He did, that was evident, but she was something else.
Quite audibly and outrageously the spokesperson for their small group—loud and touchy—her energy hit me like a herd of buffalo. I instinctually sucked in my stomach, sat taller, chin up, tits up, shoulders back, and prayed she wouldn't see the multitude of flaws in my face. Damn, why didn’t I make that Botox appointment! At least my hair looked good. She had a visceral hold on me.
She boasted about her age and how wonderful she looked in spite of it.
“Do you work out?” Rob asked. (He’s really into his Peloton exercise bike right now.)
“Don’t I look like I work out?” she demanded, as she straightened and twisted so we could admire her slim profile. We assured her that she looked fantastic, especially for her age.
I sat back, mildly regretting the potatoes I inhaled along with the salmon. They were so good though. “Peel the onion,” I thought. “Peel the onion.”
“So what do you do that brings you joy?” It slowed her down a touch, but she recovered nicely.
“Oh, my work brings me joy and of course, my family and my friends too,” she said, hugging her husband from behind.
“But what do you do just for yourself that gives you joy?” I asked.
“I’m a very busy person.”
OK, I thought, time for a change of tack. “Coming about!” I bellowed in my head.
“Today I wrote out what my perfect day would be. Have you ever done that? It was surprisingly difficult. It took me over 3 hours. There were things I was afraid to write down at first because they felt so outrageous. But, you know, as I thought more about them, I realized they just made me feel uncomfortable because I didn’t feel worthy of them. Once I worked through my fears of worthiness, things flowed and it was really fun. I also realized that some of the things in my perfect day exist right now in my daily life. That was a bright spot.”
“So what is your perfect day?” she asked.
Aha! It worked! Just the opening I was looking for. I went on to describe exactly what my perfect day was in vivid detail. I had no trouble remembering it because by writing it down I had already lived it once in my mind and in my heart. It was exhilarating to describe it again. I added more detail, the Gingerlily Molton Brown body wash in the shower, the colors of the Italian tile we had custom made for the foyer, even the details of that perfect 40-foot putt that earned me 20 bucks and my best-ever golf score. Smells. Sounds. It became more and more real, more possible, more of exactly what I want.
She laughed here and there. At first, it bothered me. Who is she to be laughing at my dreams? But I realized that I too had started out laughing at my dreams, thinking they were an impossibility and that I wasn’t worthy of them. But what I really couldn’t ignore was the feeling inside of me as I shared them. That airy and warm summer breeze of peace and joy that softly caresses your face. It was dreamy. It was heady. It was intoxicating. I wouldn’t need that nightcap.
She was the first person with whom I had ever shared my perfect day. We’re often told the best way to put someone at ease and to break the ice is to ask questions about them—get them to talk because generally people love talking about themselves. However, I’ve found you can’t always be assured of candidness. In fact, let’s face it, those first encounters are often encrusted with the gems and jewels our egos choose to flash about.
When you start the peeling and revealing of your onion layers and expose your vulnerabilities, what matters to you, and your aspirations and dreams, becoming more transparent and odiferous, it opens the door and allows others to lower their guard and peel and reveal along with you.
The real benefit though, is what it does to you and for you by how it makes you feel.
“Life is not about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself.” —George Bernard Shaw
A covey of classmates swooped in on them and she was carried away in conversation. I googled her when I got home. Yup, she is a cosmetic surgeon in Philadephia. Good on her.
To read what my perfect day is go to: Janet's Perfect Day
GROWTH STEP: Set aside some time in the next few days to write out your perfect day. Give yourself at least two hours of uninterrupted time. Don’t rush it. It’s an energizing, painful, and delightful experience. And YES, you can have everything you want!!! So don’t hold back!
If you care to share your perfect day, post it on the Building to Brilliance Facebook Page.
“We have enough people who tell it like it is. Now we could use a few who tell it like it could be.” —Robert Orden
Learn more about Discovering Your Brilliance.
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