Nothing particularly special happened today. One could call it, for me, a fairly unremarkable Saturday. I woke up to some bad news, spent most of my day in a relatively lazy fashion behind my computer, didn’t experience many of my favorite things about Austin, and now, an hour before midnight, my day is winding down. But today was perfect.
If that sounds ridiculous (it probably does) please give me a moment to explain. I’m sitting myself down here until midnight and giving myself the same moment, because it’s not something I’ve ever tried to say “out loud” (as loud as one can say with their keyboard, anyway). There are likely a lot of “BUT THIS!”s popping up in your mind (the same ones I’m hearing in mine), so I’m going to try to structure this in a way that aligns with those.
“But you didn’t do anything remarkable!”
That is incredibly true. In fact, it’s so true that today, as a testament to my commitment to this website and project, I intentionally lived a truly _un_remarkable kind of Saturday. I spent it mostly quiet, to myself, with some media consumption and a whole lot of pajamas. I knew that tonight I wanted to write this post, and that if something remarkable had happened, it would have made it harder to refute this preemptive counterpoint.
But my having not done something remarkable is to today what today is to a butterfly: two independent concepts that can and should be judged with independent rubrics (and both happen to be quite beautiful).
Today is not influenced by what I’ve done or haven’t done. Today would have happened completely without my consent — and it did! I could have never left my bed, or lived “life to the fullest” and eaten so much hummus my tummy actually ruptured (I know: I have rockstar dreams), or I could have done anything and everything in between and regardless today would have carried on the all the same. Today was going to be today, and had a lot of Todaying to do, without any nudge from me. What I did or didn’t do has nothing to do with today. And today was perfect.
“But perfection is impossible!”
We’re all taught perfect is impossible. And that (like the golden rule) is one of the silliest things we’re ever taught that we never challenge. Here are all the definitions of perfect that Dictionary.com could drum up (It’s always always always important to be sure you’re speaking the same language before you try to speak):
per·fect [adj., n. pur-fikt; v. per-fekt] adjective:
conforming absolutely to the description or definition of an ideal type: a perfect sphere; a perfect gentleman.
excellent or complete beyond practical or theoretical improvement: There is no perfect legal code. The proportions of this temple are almost perfect.
exactly fitting the need in a certain situation or for a certain purpose: a perfect actor to play Mr. Micawber; a perfect saw for cutting out keyholes.
entirely without any flaws, defects, or shortcomings: a perfect apple; the perfect crime.
accurate, exact, or correct in every detail: a perfect copy.
Watch out, y’all, because I’m going to start with 1 and work my way all the way to 5.
1. conforming absolutely to the description or definition of an ideal type: a perfect sphere; a perfect gentleman.
Today is perfect because today is absolutely and perfectly the ideal type of today. There is no day in history or in the future, nor will there ever be, that is a better today than today. It’s absolutely, quintessentially, unconditionally today. If you don’t want to appreciate it’s perfection, and think that yesterday’s today was better, or hope that tomorrow’s today might hold some unforeseen goodness, that’s your prerogative. But know that you’re simply being silly: today is the only day that will ever satisfy perfect criteria #1, and that makes me want to hug it and kiss it squarely on its perfect imaginary mouth.
2. excellent or complete beyond practical or theoretical improvement: There is no perfect legal code. The proportions of this temple are almost perfect.
Uh oh, think you’ve got me stumped, _Perfect?! _WRONG. Tomorrow may hold some unforeseen goodness that today doesn’t hold, but tomorrow is a bunch of malarkey, and so is yesterday. Today is the only day that will ever exist, and in that way it is theoretically and practically impossible to improve upon. Yesterday only exists in our minds, and our minds are cluttered and confused and full of malarkey. Tomorrow only exists hypothetically, and only if today is good enough to you to give you the chance to see tomorrow. And if today is nice enough to you to afford you that chance (like if I live for the final 35 minutes of today and get to see tomorrow) guess what? It’ll be today again. Boom. Perfect.
3. exactly fitting the need in a certain situation or for a certain purpose: a perfect actor to play Mr. Micawber; a perfect saw for cutting out keyholes.
My fingers are literally jittering with excitement at the idea of writing this paragraph, even though I have no idea what I’m going to type. It’s. So. Right. Today is the best thing that will ever happen to you. It’s everything you’ll ever be given, regardless of what you think you want or you need. It’s like when you go to the bowling alley and they ask you what size your shoe is and you say 13 and then you apologize because your feet are too big and they say they only have 12s and you say “I guess that will have to work” and then you put them on and make it work and are terrible at bowling but have a great time and turn your shoes in later and completely forget that they weren’t perfect for you. Today is just like that. It’s exactly what you need in order to get to tomorrow. And in that way it is perfect.
4. entirely without any flaws, defects, or shortcomings: a perfect apple; the perfect crime.
Oh snap. I had so much fun writing 1 – 3 that I forgot about this #4 and now I’m worried that something I wrote in 1 – 3 is going to conflict with what I write here. Kidding. I got this, y’all. Remember what I said earlier, about judging a butterfly as a butterfly and a today as a today? It brings to mind this wonderful Albert Einstein quote (that I just now decided will be the epigraph for this thought):
“Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.”
Today is flawless, if you judge today as a today, and not as a fish who can’t climb trees. We often do the latter — far too often. We think that today has to be the sum of everything (it’s not, it’s just today) and we think that it was supposed to fulfill the hopes of yesterday’s tomorrow (that’s silly: today is today, it’s nobody’s tomorrow — that’s just rude). Or we’ll yell at today because it wasn’t as good as yesterday, or some other yesterday’s yesterday. And now we’re just sounding like a bitter ex. Your current partner (or netflix series you’re livestreaming — you know, whichever you’ve got going on) isn’t your last partner, and it’d be silly to let their old flaws to dictate your current relationship. Right? Right. And today is flawlessly, undefectably, long-comingly today.
5. accurate, exact, or correct in every detail: a perfect copy.
A twist ending! Don’t worry, it’s totally okay if you want to call me M. Night Sam-alan. Today _isn’t _a copy of any other today. It’s absolutely uncopied and uncopyable! It is supremely unique, has never happened, and will never happen again. So, does this mean it doesn’t meet 1⁄5 of the perfection index, and should be considered 20% imperfect? NO! Because it is exactly the same, and correct in every detail, and you can accurately predict that every Today will be exactly like today. Every day you live, for the rest of your life, once you get to it, will be exactly like today. It will be uncopyable, supremely unique, and never happen again. Every day in the future, if you get there, will be a perfect copy of today.
“But today could have been better!”
Another perfect thing about today, and the reason I want to kiss it on the cheek and high-five it simultaneously, is because it’s the only time we’re ever able to beat ourselves up. And that’s all this thought is. It’s self-abuse, and we do it to ourselves a lot, and it’s unfair, and it’s irrational, and it’s fabricated, and it’s something we’re only ever able to do today. We can’t beat ourselves up tomorrow. And as far as yesterdays are concerned, we can only beat ourselves up for what we _did _or didn’t do or _what didn’t happen _or _did happen — _and all of that happens today. Today is perfect because it’s the only time we’re able to abuse ourselves!
Ugh. Um. Sorry. I’m typing really fast. I’m not as fond of self-abuse as I seem to be in that first paragraph. Let me try again. Today is perfect because today is the only time _we’re ever able to abuse ourselves. _So, in the span of our lives, if you’re my age-ish, that’s about .001% of your life. If you’re younger it’s more, but if you’re older it’s less! That’s an incredibly small window of time in which we’re able to abuse ourselves. But it’s also more than that.
Today is the only time we can celebrate ourselves, or affirm ourselves, or love ourselves, or love anything. Today is the only day we can experience life, in all of its myriad emotions. And we can also choose to not abuse ourselves, and to fully accept the perfection of today, and find peace in that.
And today is the only day that’s possible.