By Elaine Rohse • Columnist • 

Resolving to embrace each day

We’re often asked, “Have you hugged your kids today?”

Almost as important is, “Have you hugged your today?”

That’s my 2013 resolution: “Hug your day.”

I didn’t plan to make resolutions this year. New Year’s is past. Seldom do I keep resolutions, such as to clean the attic and garage. But while having a cup of coffee the other day and thumbing through a women’s magazine, I saw the suggestion: “Embrace the day.”

I thought about that. Every time I see our kids, I give them big hugs. I hug a good friend I haven’t seen for a while. I hug longtime friends who moved away and stopped by to see us. When I go to a celebratory event, I hug, hug, hug. Yet never, when I get up in the morning, do I hug my day.

And that, indeed, is a sorry how-do-you-do.

Upon awakening each day, I should remind myself what a wonderful possession I’ve been given. Hours for enjoyable activities, maybe gratifying accomplishments, maybe new fulfilling experiences, maybe little happenings that entertain. Yet often we don’t even acknowledge the possibility of such. We didn’t embrace our day.

As I took another sip of coffee, I thought of a recent conversation with a friend. When we had dinner together, she asked, “Well, what did you today?”

Oh,” I said — and then, I couldn’t think of a thing I had done, and I lamely answered, “Uh ... uh ... .” I didn’t come up with an answer. I’d dawdled away 24 hours.

Then I thought of that suggestion in the magazine, “Embrace the day,” and how fine a New Year’s resolution that would be — how worthwhile if I could but carry it out. And so, I adopted that resolution for 2013, and after waking up each morning and wriggling my toes before getting up, I shall embrace my day. I shall hold it close for the next 14 hours (time out for sleeping and eating) and remind myself that once this day is gone, I shall never have this same opportunity again.

This is a good resolution for me. Sometimes, I have started days as aimlessly as if I were lost in a desert. For go-to-work jobs, we have routines. We know well what must be done and know that we are responsible for doing it. But when we are our own boss, we can soldier, soldier, soldier.

Yet, oh, the potential if we might but hug our day and carefully plan it.

We plan virtually everything else, but so often, if not compelled to do otherwise, our days are carried out by rote. Get up, take a shower, get dressed, read the paper.

But in 2013, things will be different. Having made my New Year’s resolution, I shall embrace each day. I shall enumerate things to do so that I shall appreciate the day, enjoy it, live it, laugh with it.

In the past, it is true that I have customarily made up my list of “must do’s” for the next day and, true, the list was a form of planning. But it was also a form of “attacking” the day — not designed for pleasure but to try to get things done. I felt guilty and slothful if I did not get them done. That was not a plan for embracing the day.

Think about that. We plan about everything else. If we’re going to a party, we probably plan in advance what to wear. On a trip to the grocery store, we know what we plan to buy. If we have company for dinner, we plan the menu in advance. Yet we make no plan for something much more important: how to enjoy and make the most of a wonderful day rather than dawdle it away.

Having acknowledged the worth of my New Year’s resolution, I must now change my habits in order to carry it out. If I resolved to lose weight, I would try to change my eating habits. So, too, to learn what constitutes, for me, a day worthy of embrace, I must give thought to that and how I shall accomplish it. First, I shall at the end of each day, think about and try to note what has made this day special — just as Lucile Singer writes in her composition book the title of every book she reads.

On Sunday night, I might write that “60 Minutes” is worthy of an embrace. A recent segment of that television program was about a woman, almost totally immobile, who with the aid of a control attached to her brain, was able, just by her thoughts, to power a prosthetic arm and hand and move it in all directions, shake hands and, with her fingers, determine whether an object was hard or soft. Some of us at dinner the next night discussed what a miraculous breakthough that was and had an interesting conversation with regard to it. An interesting conversation is worthy of an embrace any day.

I’m thinking that planning a day and considering what will make it more special for me will do away with “uh ... uh ...” days. I hugged my day.

No one can advise us as to what might make our day embraceable, although I would be glad to hear your suggestions.

But at least what I shall have done is to recognize the potential of each day — and to at least have attempted to see that I bring that about.

At the end of 2013, when I read my entries as to what made special days for me, I will no doubt be surprised at how some of the most inconsequential of them have entertained the most. A sunset over the Coast Range as I am taking a walk — reminiscent of a sunset seen on a game drive in Kenya. A memorable book that Elsie, a member of our two-person book club, suggested. The goofy inclusion of the incident when several of us widows at dinner laughed ourselves silly when we began counting the meatballs in our respective servings of Italian wedding soup and arguing at length, certain that we had not been given as many as someone else.

My 2013 entries will give me answers and remind me that even the simplest incidents can make for a hug-worthy day.

And so, in the future, when I am asked what I did today, I shall not lamely answer “uh ... uh ... .” I shall burst forth with the realization, and I hope the answer, “Oh, I had a perfectly wonderful day.”

Elaine Rohse can be reached at

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