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January 1, 2018

Today is the First Day of the Rest of Your Life

“Can we start it all over again, this morning?”


Every time I smell laundry detergent, I remember a little sign that hung in my childhood home’s laundry room. It read, “Today is the first day of the rest of your life.” As a young kid, I was almost hypnotized by it—I couldn’t exactly explain its meaning, but I loved the phrasing of it. “Today is the first day of the rest of your life.” It didn’t rhyme but it was certainly rhythmic, so it felt like poetry.


The idea, of course, is this: The past has passed; yesterday no longer exists. Today, however, is a new beginning, as all “todays” are. It’s as full of newness for me at 45 as it is for my father at 82.


But do we really believe that? Is today actually as full of newness for each of us, regardless of age?


On the one hand, No, of course not. The newness of possibility that my aging, retired father wakes up to this morning is very different than mine. He has much more earthly life behind him than he does in front of him, and his body and mind are not what they once were.


On the other hand, though, Yes. Each of us this morning faces the same 24 hours as everybody else. My father does at 82, and I do at 45. Today is the first day of the rest of our respective lives.


The difference, as usual, depends on our mindset. We discount the universal possibilities of today whenever we think we have to make up for yesterday, or a lifetime of yesterdays. As if we could.


Faced with that impossible task, any one of us could justify crawling back under the covers and calling it a day. Summoning up the courage to stand up and show up, though, regardless of how we’ve spent the number of days in our history, enables us to call today something else:


The first day of the rest of our lives.


Peace begins with pause,



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