On Building a Life: (What to Do) When One Day is Too Much Like the Next.

 Part of Our Series on Building a (Courageous Woman’s) Life

 You know, there’s more to life than TV and Facebook.

Though sometimes it may not seem like it.

One day, my daughter looked up from her studying to ask a question.

Mom? Does it ever seem to you like one day is pretty much just like the next? You get up. Go to school. Come home. Eat supper. Study. Go to bed. Next day, same thing…. Does it all seem the same to you? 

My answer?

Could be. Often is.

 Doesn’t have to be.

 For many folks, of course, one day DOES look like the next. We get up. Go to work. Come home. Fix dinner. Watch TV. Go to bed. Next day – rinse and repeat. Every life has (and needs) a certain routine. And yes, I, too, have my share of that.

But too much of that is too much of that.

Because the day comes when you wake up and realize that today is no different than yesterday, and tomorrow will be no different than today.

There are no new stories to tell, nothing to look forward to, nothing to celebrate. You feel foggy, flat and bored, with this vague sense that something’s missing, that time is passing.

And you have no idea what to do about it.

Surely our time on the planet is meant to be Something More.

But building a life that feeds us, nurtures us and sustains us takes energy. Effort. Action. And I don’t know about you, but the older I get, the easier it is to do just the opposite, to take the path of least resistance.

It gets easier and easier to sit on the couch when I KNOW I’d feel better if I just went for the walk I’d told myself I’d take after work today. :)

Building a life means more than TV, microwave dinners and this week’s laundry. It means making a choice to add the things to your life that bring you purpose, joy, and meaning. It means exercising your brain, spicing up your days.

It means going after growth.


So if you’re feeling like one day is “pretty much just like the next”, maybe it’s time to shake things up a bit. Get off the couch. Step out the front door. Try something new.

I know it’s been too long since you dared to think this way…

But let’s say you decided to LET yourself do something you love, or heck, just explore something you might LIKE for heaven’s sake. :)

How do you know what to do?

Where do you start?

This weekend, I found myself driving through the Cherokee National Forest, a beautiful area about an hour away from where I live. As I drove, with the sun in my window, deep green woods all around me and the curves of a mountain road swaying back and forth beneath my wheels, I was intensely conscious, deeply aware, of how happy I was in that moment.

I thought about the sheer pleasure of driving by myself, choosing my path, my speed, my destination. I felt like I was dancing with the mountain, shifting gears at just the right time to negotiate a sharp curve in just the right way. I drank in the sheer beauty of the views that appeared around each curve. I found myself thinking about all the other dark green, curvy, mountainous roads I’ve traveled in my life and how much I loved every single one of them.

I thought to myself, I could do this forever….

When do you feel like that? What could you do “forever”? Not sure?

Try this exercise.

  1. Get some notebook paper or a legal pad, and a good pen.

  2. Draw a line down the middle of the page, top to bottom.

  3. Put the word “Good Times” at the top of the left column, and “Interesting Details” at the top of the right.

  4. Now, close your eyes for a moment and search your favorite memories, and think about times in your life when you’ve felt the happiest. When was the last time you laughed so hard you cried? When have you felt challenged, but proud? Nervous, but glad? Tired, but satisfied? When have you felt the most alive, intrigued, interested?

    When have you felt real joy? When have you felt fulfilled or content?

  5. Make a list of those favorite memories down the left hand column on your paper.

  6. Now, in the right hand column across from each one of those, make some notes about key factors involved in each of those events. Where did they take place? Who was there? Were you indoors or out? How did it happen? With a group or solo? Large group or small? Was it active or passive? Was it planned or spontaneous? What, exactly, were you doing in that moment?

Odds are good, you weren’t sitting at home, watching sitcom re-runs. :)

Now, go back and look at the full list, and notice two things.

First: Study your list. What do these moments have in common? What themes emerge? What pops up in many of them? That tells you something about the kinds of things that make you really happy.

Second: What could you do today to make NEW memories, to consciously create similar experiences, either right now, or in the future? (I guarantee there IS something you can do. If you need help thinking this through, shoot me an email. I’ll help!)

And third: (this is just a nice bonus) – What did you notice as you called to mind those memories? Were they hard to think of at first? Did it get easier once you got started? Did you remember a few things you’d forgotten?

And how did it feel to do this?

Even if some of the memories are bitter sweet (as they often can be), I’ll bet they made you smile. For a few minutes there, I bet you felt…dare I say it?….. happy.

That’s why this matters.


I led the very first of my Secret Adventures for Courageous Women back in September of 2011. Do you remember that one? A small group of us drove up to the Foothills Parkway – another lovely curvy mountain road that edges the Smokies about 20 minutes outside our town.

We had a delicious picnic supper at a road side pull off overlooking the entire Tennessee Valley, There were mountains behind us, a valley before us, and the Cumberland Plateau in the distance. There was delicious food and an incredible sunset — but that wasn’t the best part.

The best part was after that, when we took the short hike – in the dark – up to the Look Rock fire tower. From there we watched as the full moon rose over the mountains to one side, while city lights twinkled below us on the other. It was nothing short of spectacular.

And with that simple action, an ordinary Monday evening became one of my own favorite memories.

It doesn’t take much to make an ordinary day extraordinary – but it does take action, and intention. It can be something as simple as a game of cards with the kids after supper, or as complex as a carefully planned trip to Italy.

This is my point. I love a good show as much as anyone….

but life is to be LIVED– not watched. (And yes, you can tweet that!)

Because we all need stories to tell, things to celebrate, and something to look forward to.

So tell me.

What did you discover when you did your Favorite Memories exercise? And what can you do in the next few weeks to create – or begin working towards creating – your next favorite memory?



I’m all about making memories. :)
So we Courageous Women will doing that with intention when we head to the beach in September.
There are still a few spots left.
Is this the year to begin building YOUR life?
Click HERE to learn more.


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The easiest way is to text the word COURAGE to #22828 on your phone!



Photo Credits: by topher76 on Flickr


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