I was recently reminded of a post by Austin Kleon in which he offered up these words:
[Success] is closing the gap between what your days look like and what you want your days to look like.
I’ve thought about this line almost every day since hearing it, and it has become increasingly relevant as my wife and I have been feeling a newfound realization of the importance of the basics in life. Though we’re not minimalists (despite this being something I frequently described myself as and wrote about around the time I met her), we’ve come to realize that we have our own goals and ideas in life, and it’s okay if they don’t exactly match the goals and ideas of the people real, fictitious, or a composite, we may aspire to be.
Part of this is growing older. I’m lucky in that my wife is three years younger than me (this is, of course, not the only reason why I’m lucky to be married to her), so I frequently come up with her age when considering “our age,” but the point is the same.
Your days are all you have, and closing the gap between what they look like and what you want them to look like is a worthy goal. You will likely never close this gap all the way, and that’s okay. There will be points in your life where this gap will feel like an unbeatable chasm, and this is to be expected. But as Kleon notes, “What do you want your days to look like?” is a question he asks himself whenever he’s trying to make a decision about what to do next. In his own words:
I believe that most questions about what to do with one’s life can be replaced by this question… [it] forces you to imagine the day in, day out realities that making such choices will present you with.
So, what do you want your days to look like? ∎