Our precious days

How do you sign off your emails? Our signatures communicate our personalities and preferences. ‘Cheers’ is too blokey for me, resonant of the pub. ‘Best regards’ or ‘kind regards’ work in more formal situations. My editor signs off ‘Warmly’, and that’s exactly what she is – her warmth powers through space and time, enveloping me instantly.

Most often I use ‘for now’, or ‘best for now’, suggesting a continuing, friendly conversation. Variations of ‘love’ suit family and close friends, and occasionally I use ‘take care’.  But it was a seemingly casual remark from living-well-with-illness blogger Trudy Boyle that stopped me short. ‘May you take good care of your precious days’, she wrote. ‘Take good care of your precious days.’

It made me realize that sometimes, I treat my days disrespectfully, even brutally. I stuff them full of things to do or be done, heedless of whether they might be hurting. Sure, I pace myself and take time out to rest. But my days are less a gift to inspire wonder than something more mundane and utilitarian. A schedule of things to do, which once done, whoosh down a chute and disappear, only for others to take their place.

I’ve never been motivated by the thought that based on average life expectancy, I’ve got 1825 more breakfasts to enjoy, or 260 Sundays. But this morning, as I put on my shoes and orthotic brace, and tied my laces with deliberation, Trudy’s words reverberated in my mind. Here’s my day, I thought, my precious day. Another precious day. How will I take care of it?

For Trudy, taking care of her day means spending time outdoors, doing things she loves, hanging out with people that ‘mean the world’ to her. And letting go of what she no longer needs.

Wise woman.

As for me, first thing, I’ll say hello. Look into the eyes of my day, acknowledge it being there, showing up for me, one more time.

Then, I’ll make an inquiry. How are you? Is something different for you today, that I need to know about? Perhaps we need to adjust our plans …

We’re almost ready to go – just one more thing. Is there something I can do for you, or you for me? One small thing that will make this day memorable?

I take care of others; I take care of myself. Today, this day, will be memorable because from now on, I’m taking care of my day, every one of my precious days.

A note: At long last, I think the problem with the automated email notification of my new blog posts has been sorted. Let’s hope its smooth sailing from now on.

Our precious days »

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11 Responses

  1. Interesting to ponder whether the sign off should be most appropriate for the sender or receiver of a message. I’m a “Cheers” person, occasionally “Cheers and love” if the recipient is someone fairly close to me. I remember picking up the “cheers” habit from when I lived/worked in the UK in the late 1970s. I’d never thought of it as blokey, until now, Ruth. ?

    1. From what I’ve read, ‘cheers’ is fine if you are from the UK or US — so you are pretty safe!

  2. Being on the committee of a body corporate, I use “cheers” as a friendly but not too close greeting.
    For family I usually use “love” perhaps with some kisses, or just a few kisses.
    For close friends it’s often “love”.
    For a pleasant acquaintance I might use “ kind regards “.

  3. I often use cheers too! I think it’s friendly and casual, when I do anything that might be more professional I use regards, I think with digital communication we can break a lot of old rules though

    1. I’m quite happy to have people sign off to me with ‘Cheers’. As you say, it’s friendly and casual.

  4. Here is a poem Ruth that I thought relevant to Taking Care of Precious days…
    If each of us knew how much time we had allocated,
    perhaps we could play around with it.
    But we don’t.
    Believing tomorrow to be a guarantee,
    is the biggest mistake we make.
    Not seizing every day like the gift that it is,
    is the biggest risk we take.
    Waste time wisely my friend.
    Time spent in rest, joy, company and kindness,
    is never wasted.
    As for the rest, just do it.
    You won’t regret the things you tried and failed at,
    but you will regret a life spent waiting.
    Waiting for anything is a dangerous game because there is no guarantee the conditions will ever be just right.
    Those who wait, wait..
    but you,
    you have a life to live.
    Right here, right now.
    Donna Ashworth

    1. That’s wonderful, Leonie. Especially:
      ‘Not seizing every day like the gift that it is,
      is the biggest risk we take.’
      A thought to hold onto. Thank you.

  5. Sadly, for some, the preciousness of days is realised when it’s almost too late to restore ruptured connections.
    Thank you, Ruth. Your courage and clear eye enrich my day.

    1. Thank you Cecile – in that context, our ‘precious days’ hold (or lose) such great potential.

  6. ‘Our precious days’ has some strong connections with Wim Wenders latest movie, ‘Perfect Days’, which recently screened at the Sydney Film Festival. It might be coming to Newcastle as part of the traveling film festival. The movie is set in Tokyo and, unlikely as it sounds, tells the story of the daily life of a toilet cleaner and the satisfaction he takes from how he spends his days. It’s a wonderful film and even has a recurring image of the sunrise, similar to the picture on your post, although in an urban setting.

    1. David, lovely to see you here! ‘Perfect Days’ sounds wonderful and is well reviewed – as yet we’ve been unable to get it. But will keep it on watch. The resonance you mention must be in the zeitgeist …

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