What is a day?


I want to understand what a day means to me, and I want to understand it without resorting to cliches.  It’s not going to be an “opportunity” or a “blessing” or even that tongue-in-cheek response of “A Day is 24 Hours!”.

A little history to begin

Before the rise of machines, a day of the week was dedicated to washing the family’s clothes and linen.  There was even a day dedicated to washing the family.  The more physical effort required to achieve the outcome, the more likely that effort was routinely poured into a single day.

It seems that now “A Day Of …” is for things we don’t usually do and aren’t required to do.  It’s a clarion call to carve out time for something special, like St Valentine’s Day or Grandparents Day.  Women’s magazines often include articles recommending a “Me Day”; a day for busy women to devote to restoring energy levels and a sense of perspective.

A couple of years ago, I declared every second day would be “A Day of Exercise”.  This pronouncement was made each the morning and was usually accompanied by a clap of hands for added motivation while I mentally planned how I would insert extra movement into the next 12 hours; a clarion call to carve out time for something I’m required to do.

By the time I tackle work and all the things involved in preparing for work and travelling to and from work etc, there really isn’t an entire day left in the week untouched by work.  My Day of Exercise is not a day given over to a single pursuit. It’s more like a day in which exercise is scattered across the time zones.

Why am I thinking about this?

In this Year of Liveability, I’m thinking through a few things.  Much of my thinking to date has been about space and stuff.  The actions required to re-organise spaces and sort through stuff dig into my days.

We had a long weekend here recently, a public holiday, an entire day to spend completely devoid of anything associated with work.

So, with an opportunity to have an entire day devoted to anything I choose, what did I choose?  Nothing.

I didn’t deliberately choose nothing.  Instead, I didn’t give it enough thought.  I did begin to think about it.  I pondered the possibility of a country drive but decided not to; my back was still unhappy about picking up the bounty of autumn leaves last weekend.  And there the thinking ended.

The time wasn’t wasted.  I made progress on this and that.  But I cannot use it as an example to help me decide what a day means.

Or maybe I can?  There is a pattern emerging …

For me, a day is usually a collection.

Some days, there’s an element of curatorial management, a bit of forethought, a gathering of events around a theme.  Some days, it’s ramshackle with serendipitous occurrences one after the other.  I like both types.

Curatorial management?  So, what is a curator?

According to the internet, the word “curator” is from Latin meaning “take care”.  They are usually found in galleries, museums or libraries; a content specialist that develops, manages and interprets the institution’s collections.  It’s a curator’s job to inform, educate and inspire the public.

I think describing my day as a collection to be curated could be the answer.

… providing I can keep the outward focus, the “telling other people how to do things” bit … if I can keep that from being overbearing and obnoxious and know-it-all …

… more thinking required, I think.




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