Ideal Day

I moved to Raleigh, NC in 1999 and loved being reunited with many of my childhood friends who lived there!  How neat to get reacquainted with them as adults!  I made some new friends, too, when I joined the Raleigh Jaycees.

I just researched the Jaycees and found these interesting fun facts on the Wiki page for the Jaycees:

The United States Junior Chamber (JCs or more commonly Jaycees) is a leadership training and civic organization for people between the ages of 18 and 40. Areas of emphasis are business developmentmanagement skills, individual training, community service, and international connections. The U.S. Junior Chamber is a not-for-profit corporation/organization as described under Internal Revenue Code 501(c)(4).

Established January 21, 1920 to provide opportunities for young men to develop personal and leadership skills through service to others, the Jaycees later expanded to include women after the United States Supreme Court ruled in the 1984 case Roberts v. United States Jaycees that Minnesota could prohibit sex discrimination in private organizations. 1985 marked the final year of the US Jaycee Women (also known as Jayceettes, Jayceens), an organization that lasted 10 years and at its convention in 1984 in Atlanta boasted 59,000 members.


Whoa … Danielle M, Amy K, Kriste PN, Kathy C, Robyn W, and others — did you KNOW we could have been referring to ourselves as Jayceettes and/or Jayceens???? And that we were only allowed to participate in co-ed Jaycees groups, starting in 1985???

Alas … I digress … Every meeting opened with an Invocation, and one time I got roped into asked to do an Invocation (ahem, Danielle M). This was a time of reflection, and also meant to inspire participation.  So, I share with you my Invocation from the Raleigh Jaycees, 10/04/01:

I had the good fortune to experience the amazing culture of Portland, OR when I lived there in the mid-90s.  And to meet some outstanding people there, and have some wonderful experiences.  It is one of those wonderful experiences with one of those outstanding people that I’d like to share with you tonight as the Invocation:

I was struggling with career decisions, which also spilled over into questions of where I wanted to live.  Did I want to stay out west or did I want to move back east to be closer to friends and family?  My boss, who was also a good friend (and continues to be) and one of my most influential mentors, listened while I struggled.

One day, she came in with a homework assignment for me.  I had a week to come up with answers to the following three questions:

  1. On my ideal day, what hours would I work and what would I be doing?
  2. On that same day, what would I do when I wasn’t working?
  3. If money were no object and there were no other obstacles, what would I have?

At the time, I was a chef, and what I realized when I answered the first question, was that I wanted to focus my efforts to becoming a pastry chef (versus a general chef … one who cooks all kinds of foods … I wanted to focus on baking).  And that I wanted to work from 7am – 3pm, my most productive hours.

For all of the things I wanted to do when I wasn’t working, I realized that my ideal day had to be 40 hours long!  I wanted to live in a rural area outside of a bigger city that would likely have the caliber restaurant where I would want to be a pastry chef.  Which meant that I would need to allot 2 hours for commuting.  I also wanted to garden, read, write letters (these were the years pre-interwebs!), quilt, and more.

If money were no object and there were no other obstacles, my response was that I wanted a house, 2 cats, a family, and money to travel.

She reviewed the list, looked up at me, and pointed out that all of the things I wanted in my ideal day (aside from time constraints) were reasonable.   She concluded, “So now make decisions every day that will bring you closer to your ideal day.”

What she taught me to do was to figure out my long-term goals, and the short-term steps I needed to take in order to achieve them.  This assignment is one that I continue to give myself — especially considering that I have changed careers twice since that time!  It is applicable to many areas of my life — personal, professional and spiritual — even in my life as a Jaycee.

These three questions lead to a mindset of deliberation, that results in a conscientious lifestyle — one where decisions are made with intent. Where long-term implications and ramifications are considered and evaluated before actions is taken.

This gift of evaluation and careful consideration has enriched my life immeasurably. It has taught me to take responsibility for my life and to seek accountability for my decisions.

I hate to hoard this gift … this lesson … this insight. And so I share it with you all tonight. As you sit in this room and decide which Jaycee activities to participate in … as we leave and part ways to return to life and work … I implore you to consider your ideal day.

It’s been awhile since I’ve answered these questions.  Time to brush them off and see what I come up with!  Here are some relatively current pictures of my most influential mentor, Stacey!  LOVE!  xoxoxoxo


Leave a Reply