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"You Take The Good, You Take The Bad..."
posted May 12, 2007 @12:57a
My goal, at the end of each day, is to be able to say, "now today - today was a good day." I've never really considered what exactly pushes a day in the direction of good; but this afternoon, after catching a movie, as I reclined on the limb of a maple tree in the parking lot of the theater, it hit me. I had an epiphany. A life's story is but a succession of moments. It's just a collaboration of tiny windows in time, each of which partially shaping who you are. And on a much, much smaller scale, the same can be said about a day's story. One single moment, good or bad, can define an entire day.

Moments are powerful.

I just read my first post ever, submitted way back in 2005. It was comprised of three sentences, and the last consisted of just one word:

"I played on the streets in Times Square this week and made $11.15. That's almost enough money to have the stains removed from my jeans from sitting on the sidewalk. Almost."

It was true that my pants were dirty. And it was true that I collected just over eleven dollars. But that silly post didn't do justice to the moments of that day, and there were many.

On the Saturday before that post, July 16th, I had woken up extremely antsy. I had an itch to go to New York City, like immediately, just to walk around and play in the streets. So in my soft case, I packed my guitar, a t-shirt, one pair of underwear and a box of Hot Tamales. I headed for the airport, purchased a ticket, and was on my way, all within two hours.

That was the first moment of that day, the defining moment.

In Central Park, there's a bridge with some amazing acoustics underneath. That's where I wanted to play, but I wanted to walk the city first. Near the end of the third mile of my northern trek from Washington Square Park, it was obvious that a summer downpour was about drench the city. So in anticipation, I bought an umbrella. It started pouring at nearly the exact moment I stepped into the park, so I opened my umbrella and moved under a tree for extra shelter. Within seconds, I was sharing my tree and umbrella with a French family of three. We stood captive for about seven minutes, during which time only two sentences were exchanged. The father offered a heavily-accented "thank you," and I returned a "you're welcome." That was it. When the rain ceased, with a nod, we silently parted ways.

In the humid heat after the shower, I discovered through a phone call that two of my friends were visiting New York City on a business trip. So I gave one of them a call to surprise him, and he invited me to their dinner meeting to be held at City Crab in the Flatiron district later that evening. The four of us, including my two friends and a client, enjoyed lots of appetizers and entrees and drinks. We stayed at the restaurant so long that I had to visit the restroom twice; both of which times, as I discovered later, I accidentally used the employees' restroom... I had wondered why I had to walk through the kitchen to get there... Every part of the meal was outstanding. Before that, I'd never had seafood that tasted so good. I haven't had anything better since.

After dinner, I was told by my friend that another person in his business group, who happened to be scheduled to arrive that night, was going to be a day late. His room had already been booked, and the bill settled.

So I wasn't going to have to pay for my room that night.

Around 10pm, I left the group and hit the streets again to look for a place to perform. After trying out a few spots in Times Square, round about 1am I sat down outside my hotel on West 44th Street. During this set, the last one of the excursion, I finally became settled. Song after song flowed from my fingertips, and people were stopping to listen. There were a few couples, employees from a bar across the street, and even a cabby that yelled "sing it brotha" as he slowed down to hear. It's hard to get any attention whatsoever on the street in NYC; so the compliments and comments I got were invaluable. As a matter of fact, the moment the cab driver cheered me on was my favorite.

That moment made my day.

This afternoon, resting on that maple limb, I discovered something: taking the time to climb up in a tree in a parking lot and relax can cancel out that earlier moment when somebody was unkind to me. A good moment replaces the bad. And in order to have a good day's story - a good life's story - all I have to do it replace the bad moments with good.


Indeed, good advice, replace bad with good to make the memory of the day much better. Only thing is, sometimes it is a bit hard to push yourself to get a "good" moment going. I think that should be the life goal. Force a good moment on a bad day.

posted by James on 5/12/2007 @11:23:43 AM

Man it really does take an effort to do that. I think you really have to make a habit of it...

posted by Jason Wells on 5/17/2007 @9:56:17 AM
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