Oh, Shit! You Mean We’re Playing for REALSIES?
Yesterday morning, I had a choice: Wear the “meh” old work outfit that was comfortable but a little worn, a little blah and gray-toned—or wear the brand new outfit I’d just gotten that’s a little less PJ-soft, but makes me feel like I could conquer anything. I was feeling kind of tired and worn down, and PJ-soft sounded infinitely more appealing. But I went for the power outfit, and here is why.
This is not a dress rehearsal. Even if it’s just another Tuesday with nothing particularly important going on, no day is a throwaway. It’s your life that you’re living in these moments right here, and these moments are the only ones you definitely have. You may not get to choose what happens in them, but you can choose what you make of them.
So why not choose to make them everything you can?
Intentionality: All the Cool Kids Are Doing It
I could have just as easily put on my “alright” outfit, gone to work still feeling blah and lackluster, and slumped through the day, putting forth minimal effort and getting the job more or less done. But lately, I’m sick of just coasting. Even if it’s only a “regular” day, even if the only thing I’m going to be doing in it is filing and typing and refilling the coffee pot, I still want to make the day count. Otherwise, I’m just wasting my own time. I’m squandering the only life that I’ve got.
So even though I wasn’t particularly “feeling” the power outfit yesterday, I put it on anyway, and it instantly made a difference. I felt more put-together and on top of things. I tackled a couple tasks I’d been putting off. I spoke to my coworkers and clients with a professional, cheery tone that I never would have thought possible when I woke up that morning cursing at my alarm clock. I was a better version of myself because I chose to be. And I was so glad I had. It turned an ordinary unimportant Tuesday into an ordinary unimportant Tuesday that I feel I really did something with.
It’s all about intentionality. Choosing to make the most of things. Choosing to bring your A-game. Choosing to find meaning even in the supposedly meaningless. “Living on purpose,” as I heard somewhere in my Twitter stream recently. I love that phrase. Living on purpose.
How You Gonna Play It?
I love What Not to Wear (maybe that was the impetus for the power outfit debate?), and one of the things they talk about on the show is the fact that even if you’re just running to the grocery store, you’re still out in the world. The way you approach it matters. You can go in your sweats and PJ pants and no one will stop you, but you can also throw on a decent blouse and some cute shoes, and maybe you’ll approach the world (and the world will react to you) a little bit differently.
Maybe you’ll meet your future spouse on that grocery trip. Maybe you’ll run into potential clients you’re trying to woo for your new business. Or maybe the only people who see you will be the cashier and a couple harried moms in line with you. But who sees you isn’t the important thing. The important thing is that you’re choosing to be your best self, for no one else’s sake but your own. You’re choosing to act like this moment is the main event, even if it feels like filler. There is no filler. This is the big show, toots. You’re live on the air.
Life isn’t always going to be full of hefty choices and life-or-death moments. This is something I struggle with, because I like making grand “Oh, Captain, my Captain” gestures and feeling like the things I’m doing are ultra-meaningful and weighty. But life isn’t always one big inspirational movie (oh that it were!). Life is mundane and everyday a good portion of the time. But that doesn’t mean you have to be mundane and everyday in it. A true revolutionary doesn’t need a revolution to do her thing. She just needs the right attitude.
So my day is filled with things like dishes to wash and work hours to be gotten through. I can still choose who I am in those moments. And I choose to be flippin’ spectacular. I choose to give the best I’ve got, to be my most ass-kicking self, and to live like each moment counts for something, because in its own little way, each moment does.
Make Your Day (punk!)
I don’t say this to paralyze you with the overwhelming significance of every single action you take. Taking things too seriously is just as unhealthy a track. But I mean, really. It’s your life you’re living here. Shouldn’t that count for something?
Each moment you’re alive is a choice to be the best version of yourself, or to settle. To make the most of your actions, or to coast. And every time you choose to be your best, to give it your all, you’re better for it. Your experience of life is better. The world is better.
So, the choice is yours:
Are you going to grumble through another day at work, resenting your stucked-ness and woe-is-me’ing the waste of your true talents? Or are you going to make the best-collated damn copies anyone’s ever made, and spread a little cheer to your gloomy coworkers while doing it?
Are you going to come home, plop on the couch, and kill away the evening watching the millionth incarnation of Dancing With the Stars, or are you going to do something—anything? Play with your kids, talk to your spouse, start crocheting that blanket you keep talking about crocheting? I don’t care what it is, as long as it’s intentional. As long as you’re really living your moments and not just coasting through them.
The choice is yours. So put on your power outfit, baby. Go conquer the world.