Ten Thousand Days

A couple of days ago, it occurred to me that I have lived more than 10,000 days. I felt a little gasp at such a large number, and soon began to wonder what I had done with all of those days. Certainly, I don’t remember many of them, and knowing myself I have spent far too many fretting about things instead of enjoying the day.

The weight of this realization was exponentially magnified when I got clobbered over the head with stories of people dying suddenly and very young (from remembrances on the radio of September 11, to a story about a woman who lost her husband very suddenly, and then a movie about World War II where young soldiers just kept dying). I’ve often been aware in my brain that my life is finite, but at certain moments (like now), I feel it a little more keenly in my body and momentary reality.

But 10,000 days—that is a lot of life, a lot of moments, a lot of time to experience living. I don’t want to say that I regret how I’ve spent them, but there is a part of me that knows I’ve too often been missing the point.

I have been thinking a lot lately about what life is really about. I dwell regularly on success, money, striving to do something great, wanting to feel like I’m doing something worthwhile. But really, what does any of it matter if 10,000 days go by in a flash and you never really felt them because you were so busy striving?

I wrote this question in my journal two days ago: “What would it take to really live in appreciation of each moment? A terminal diagnosis? The death of someone close to me?” We have all heard the stories of revelation that can come along with such dark moments, but who wants it to require such grim circumstances to initiate real deep appreciation of life?

I have had many realizations like this before, and my inclination is always to make some strong resolution to act differently, but most often a few days or weeks later, I’ve gone back to my daily grind. It occurs to me now that there is no way to always live in transcendent appreciation of life, but it is possible to choose in a moment to remind yourself and take a deep breath and experience your life. And it is possible to keep teaching yourself to remember more often (and be kind to yourself when you forget, and use that as another opportunity to remember). I’ve read in Buddhist meditation books about the idea of picking a reminder—something you see or do often—and training yourself to use that as a cue to stop and take a deep breath and be present. Maybe that is a place to start. Always, the time is now. And isn’t that the whole thing? There is only now.

How do you remind yourself to be present? Do you have any tricks or practices?

4 Responses to “Ten Thousand Days”


  1. 1 Laura Hannon September 9, 2011 at 12:52 pm

    Oh, I love this- what a great reminder to be present. Thanks!

  2. 2 Sarah September 9, 2011 at 3:07 pm

    You put so well into words things that I have thought and felt.

    I too make resolutions to be more present, but then find myself back into the grind a few days or weeks later. I like your suggestion that it is not possible to *always* be present, but that we should take moments to stop and notice the present. Also, thank you for the reminder to be kind to yourself if you realize you’ve been forgetting – I instead often feel guilty and depressed when I suddenly “wake up” from a period of busyness. Perhaps getting caught up in the grind and busyness of living simply *is* part of what life is about, as is sometimes remembering to be present.

  3. 3 Kerri September 17, 2011 at 7:59 pm

    Wow, 10,000 days already and I am older than you so I must have lived even more! Lately I feel like totally giving up, in a good way, on all the things I thought I wanted. Just letting them go and starting only to do the things that are important in my eyes and not the worlds. Striving it seems to me is never about the right things. So now I am doing what I need to do for myself, and that is all. It’s kind of a relief! As always Nicole, you have written beautiful thoughts for me to sigh over x x

  4. 4 Kerri September 17, 2011 at 8:01 pm

    Oh I forgot to say how I remember to live in the present. Every night in bed I think over the day and try to remember and feel gratitude for every single good thing that happened no matter how tiny and insignificant they may be. And I remember always that I am promised no more than this second I am breathing in right now.


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Hello there! My name is Nicole K. Docimo, and I am an artist and writer from the U.S.A. but currently residing in Zurich, Switzerand. Thank you for visiting my blog!

Some Thoughts

"Be thirsty for the ultimate water,
and then be ready for what will
come pouring from the spring."
~Rumi

{from "Joy at Sudden Disappointment"
translated by C. Barks.}

~This Work ~

Unless otherwise noted, all images and writings on this blog were created by me, Nicole K. Docimo aka Blue Bicicletta. If you would like to share anything you see here for inspirational purposes online, I just ask that you kindly let folks know where you found it. If you are wanting to share/reproduce any of my work in any other way, or have any questions about how you will be sharing the work in relation to copyright, please contact me directly at nkdocimo {at} gmail {dot} com. Thanks!

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