What a Difference a Day Makes

Dinah Washington once sang “What a difference a day Made”, probably her most popular recording ever, but those little words, squeezed in a few blissfully melodic minutes meant a lot, and to this day, those words still have the same impact and maybe even more meaning.

As i was walking back home during a lazy morning i realized how life goes by so quickly that we hardly ever stop to pay attention to the little things that could make a big difference in our days, our perspectives and ultimately in our lives. As i was walking through the noisy streets of chinatown, trying to find some sense in the path i was taking, i realized that maybe i shouldn’t even have a path to take, after all, this was a lazy day, a day i had off, during the week, something so rare and that could be so valuable, something that we all long for almost everyday while we’re sitting inside an office, something that at that moment i had, for one day, i had that kind of freedom. If i wanted to i could choose not to go home, i could wander around, not take a shower, not make any sense at all, for that one particular day, i could do whatever i wanted, i could even not answer the phone at all, pretend i had vanished into a black hole, and no one would ever know my whereabouts.

To me, that day was a beautiful revelation, to me, that particular day changed many things. For the first time in a long time i realized how i could take advantage of a day, how i could do my favorite things, walk around, observe, pay attention to the little happenings that take place in life all the time, all around us. At first i felt like i had to suck it all in, i stood there, in the corner of Hester and Canal, took a deep breath, listened to the children running behind their moms, the old ladies pulling their carts, watched as the florists arranged the window for a new day that was about to begin, paid attention to the hectic movement of the people that were actually busy going to work and staring at me as if i was a crazy person standing there with nothing to do. I watched the cab drivers shouting out to the air their useless complaints about how bad the traffic was – as if it would change anything – and also saw at the same time, accross the street, way past the crazy noises, an EMO couple saying their goodbyes, parting ways and staring back at each other as they walked away, in the most romantic and passionate gesture that only exists between true lovers. The birds were all aligned outside the buildings, going on in their conversations about probably where to fly to for their next meal or on who to take that nasty dump that will really send that person off the edge and will probably be really funny for them to watch. I wondered what could be going through the head of the guy that just threw some paper in the already disgusting pavement instead of just disposing of it in the trash can that stood a step away from him; i wondered if maybe he felt that his act was some sort of help for the sanitation worker’s to keep their jobs in a time of crisis, but than, three miliseconds later i decided that it was a crappy theory and discarded it in that very trash can that the passer by disregarded.

As i decided to make my way up Elizabeth Street, i brushed against a chinese lady who cursed at me in something that could only be chinese but wouldn’t really make a difference as she kept on going without ever even looking back, after all, to her i was only another person blocking her way, and it seemed like she had lots of errands to run with her little cart – off she went! I smiled and turned away only to realize that a kid across the street was staring at me, and as i was looking straight into her eyes, we connected for a second, acknowledged each other, giggled and kept on going. Those little connections are to me the most priceless things in a day, what took that particular person to share that fraction of a moment with me, that moment that didn’t really mean anything, but filled my heart with joy.

As my day went by and i sat in every square that was once overlooked, walked into every shop that once caught my eye as i was on my hurried way to work or somewhere else, talked to every single human being i could and even some canine and feline subjects too, observed and listened to everyone around me and fell in love with every little aspect of life all over again, i realized that this is what it’s all about, this is the true experience of life, feeling and being open to everything is a true blessing and i was blessed to have that day.

As the day progressed, so did i, i made notes, i had thoughts, i felt like i was filled with life, i realized that taking an hour off to wander around during luch time could now be a new and refreshing project, i realized that being with yourself can be the best quality time available, being with yourself will probably always be the most revealing experience you will ever have, an epiphany from the neuro gods that live within you.

So, my advice here – not that you care – is pretty obvious: enjoy your life in the rythm of a caterpillar, move slowly and patiently, not only it will bring you enlightenment but it will also give you an extra boost of energy.

As the song said, a day truly made a huge difference, twenty four little hours come a long way when you allow yourself to be truly alive, when you allow yourself to live the unexpected experiences, when you share a random conversation while standing in line at the bank or riding in the subway, when you get lost and you discover a new empire of possibilities that never even crossed your mind, or even when you’re there, just standing in the corner, minding your own business and you’re hit by that nasty and unexpected bird poop, it is as the saying says: shit happens!

Author: Gabriel Ruas Santos Rocha

writes for passion, eats for pleasure, travels for wonder.

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