Kara Gordon


A letter to the people going at
100 miles an hour about the less glamorous parts of life.
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What does your perfect day look like?

I’ve been preoccupied with the idea of the perfect day for at least the past four years, at least since I read The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo when it was making its way around my office at The Atlantic. Beyond the methods shown in her Netflix show, Tidying Up, part of what she asks the reader to consider is what would our ideal life be. It’s a big question, and it (rightfully) often garners large, sweeping answers. But Marie asks us to think smaller: what would your ideal day-to-day look like? After all, day after day makes up a life.

So I have this picture in my head of the perfect day. It is slow and detailed and calm. I feel refreshed and inspired throughout this day. I feel content and peaceful.

My actual day, of course, is rarely that.

Which is not to say that my ideal day, my perfect week, my most solid month, isn’t attainable. Starting in 2015 and in various iterations since, I’ve itemized and catalogued the building blocks that make these days, weeks, and months (currently, I use a tool my partner recommended, Notion). I never check every single item off week to week, but I often check off my monthly goals, even more often my daily goals.

And these goals are small. They’re simple. Meditate. Do yoga. Take my medication. Three things that can theoretically be done in the space of 30 minutes if I’m on a time crunch. It’s rarely that it’s hard. It’s that I have to make the active choice to do it.

I had the privilege this week of attending a masterclass by Tina Essmaker, The Great Contentment, and this question was posed again. What does your perfect day look like? And then, its follow up: What does your actual day look like? These are questions I always ask myself and my partner, but it’s also a reflection that I want to offer you. Set a timer for five minutes and write out your perfect day. Set another timer and write out your actual day. Is there a small thing that you could do to make your actual day be closer to your perfect day? Could you do that tomorrow? For all of next week? For all of this year?

Over the next several months, I’ll be breaking down my perfect versus actual day and sharing them with you: my pre-work routine, what and how I’m working in the morning, lunch, the afternoon, post-work, what happens once I’m home, and my bedtime routine. I would love to hear from you about my first installment: what is your ideal way to start your day? How are you actually starting your day? If you want to change it, do you have ideas as to how? Let me know.

All my love,

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