Thirty years ago, my close friend Patch Adams, perhaps the world’s most recognized clown doctor told me this story. As a teenager, he became seriously depressed and was briefly hospitalized. Within the first few days he decided that he would never again have a bad day.
I thought it a bullshit exaggeration. That he was dramatically over emphasizing how much control we had in the unfolding drama of our lives. Things that happen to us that are out of our hands, that influence how we come to every day.
As a younger man, I thought I was doing my life, the sense that I was in control of my destiny; as an older man, I think it’s my life that’s doing me. I am in the midst of lots of changes in my abilities and my life style, and now I finally get that the only control I have in my life is how I choose to come to every day.
A few weeks ago, I was with another beloved friend in Eugene Oregon to celebrate the life of his wife who had just died. One morning we were getting coffee at a drive through coffee stand, and when we got to the window, the barista greeted Jim with a warm “how are you doing”? And Jim responded, “this is the best day of my life”. Once again, just like 30 years ago, that it was a bullshit exaggeration
Jim said it’s real for me… this is who and where I am today. I will treasure every day of my life and say thank you for all that surrounds me. I want to come from that place, and when people ask me how I’m doing, I want to be able to say “this is the best day of my life” with that sense of joyful thanksgiving, even when I am struggling.
I tried it out at a public gathering last week where there were many old friends who asked me how I was doing and I said, “this is the best day of my life”. They looked at me with the same sense of disbelief I once had.
I understand their doubts, but it’s finally become clear that although we might not have control of what happens in our lives, we do have control about how we come to those events…and I’m working on it.
PS: we can talk about this at the next Schlagchat on Thursday, November 9 at 6 PM.