How does your day end? Do you succumb to gravity and crash into the mattress, feeling defeated? Nod off to Jon, Jay, or Conan? Or spend a moment looking back over the panorama of your day and pronounce it, like God on the sixth day, “Very good”?

Some nights, I hate the idea of going to bed, resist it like a hyperactive eight-year-old, because I feel there’s still so much to do. I’m not satisfied with what I got done during the day, don’t want the opportunity to end. Other days, I welcome the rest and look forward eagerly to sleeping, and when I feel myself hit the sheets, actually let out a big Ahhhhh of satisfaction, as if I’d eaten all my dinner and was now being served a delicious dessert.

That latter is how I like my days to end. It is also how I’d like my life to end.

“Eeuuwww, that’s too macabre, let’s not think about that.”

But hang on. They’re not so different: how you end your days, and how you end this day.

This occurred to me, reading Bob Proctor’s “Leadoff” this issue: what your entire life amounts to is simply the sum of whatever your individual days amount to. As the Virginia Woolf character says in the magnificent film, The Hours: “Always to look life in the face and know it for what it is…always the years between us, always the love, always the hours.”

Our lives really do come down to this: how we spend each day. Always the days, always the hours.

I once asked a friend, Scott Ohlgren, if he knew what, when the time came, would be his preferred cause of death. He answered without hesitation: “Use.”

Another friend, Gianni Ortiz, once told me her preferred method of exit: “To be taken by a sniper’s bullet while in an asana at a yoga retreat.” (Now that’s a classy way to go.)

As I write these words, it is exactly ten years since my mom put aside her toys, donned her PJs and crawled into bed for the final goodnight.

When I was little, she once told me, I had a peculiar way of preparing for bed. I would brush my teeth, say goodnight, then slip into my room and change back into my day clothes, carefully make my bed, and lie down to sleep on top of the covers. Observing this one night, my mom inquired, what was my purpose? According to her, my answer came without hesitation:

“That’s so when I wake up the morning, I’ll be ready to get up and play, without any distractions.”

I like to think that’s how she felt when she closed her eyes the last time.

I like to think that’s how I’ll feel the last time I close mine.

 

JOHN DAVID MANN is Editor in Chief of Networking Times.