I’m celebrating this lesser known holiday by reading this book and will attempt to get to know the author, Phyllis May.
This morning when I asked Alexa, “Alexa, what special day is it?” she answered that there were 54 informal holidays! FIFTY-FOUR!! It was even too much for Alexa. (She only talked about Women’s History Month.) Maybe we have just gone a little too far with these holidays.
For each “special holiday” that’s out there, Carpe Diem Day gets a little more lost in the crowd. Oh well. Even if Carpe Diem Day never gets famous, it’s still the most important — the matriarch, if you will, of all these other ‘special days’ that people are seizing.
With 54 days to sift through, I was thinking I’d be fine with embracing just another lazy Monday (celebrated by listening to the Bangles and being grateful that I no longer was having Manic Mondays) when I came across this one for March 1rst: Refired not Retired Day.
As I read the description, I found it was created by Phyllis May who retired (or should I say “refired” at the age of 55 in 1998 and started a new life in Key West, Florida.
Retirement and living a “Fiery” Carpe Diem Life is one of the topics I’m most interested in! In fact, one of my many project ideas has been to write my own book about this phase of life, especially as a single… maybe a sequel to The Laptop Dancer Diaries (without the embarrassing dating stories.)
I’ll be curious what Phyllis has to say in her book and I’m hoping I’ll be able to connect with her on my Carpe Diem Connections Podcast! Maybe the next season will be about being “Refired not Retired”!
I got involved with the ALS Never Surrender non-profit a few years ago and was inspired by the founder, Steph Courdin, who gathered a group of colleagues and volunteers to create a mobile app that would collect valuable ALS patient progression data.
For a #carpediemday celebration, Lee MacIvor leaves her late husband’s huge book collection to a local nursing home.
I’ve been hosting Carpe Diem Day contests throughout the month of February mostly in a selfish attempt to gain followers and recognition for Carpe Diem Day.
I’d venture to say, no one cared about winning the $25 prizes I was suggesting for any of my contests. The few people who were playing, were playing for the fun of it. I loved seeing the creative photos and captions for both Wear Red Day and Umbrella Day. Picking a clear winner based on quality of entry was too difficult so I went with a “random draw” approach.
With my final contest.. the “big one”… in celebration of Carpe Diem Day.. there ended up being one very clear winner. Her “entry” into this contest is much more than a creative photo.
Her story captures the spirit of what I envisioned for Carpe Diem Day celebrations so perfectly.. showing resilience, love, generosity, and the preservation of legacy.
Lee’s story begins over 50 years ago when she met her first love – the love of her life – Brian MacIvor. They were high school sweethearts at Karachi American School in Pakistan.
A few years after high school they went on to live separate lives. They reconnected in 1995 after Lee acted upon a dream she had a few days before by telephoning. Despite living in different countries, Lee – in a very “Carpe Diem” -like way, seized the day. She made the bold move from the US to Europe and later in 1998, she and Brian were married. Who says those romantic movies are unrealistic?
When Brian died tragically in an accident in 2017, the grief for Lee, of course, was unbearable. Grief is an emotion that is indescribable. Though it might remind us that life is precious, ‘seizing the day,’ when we don’t have our partner to seize it with anymore, feels empty. Life can feel meaningless.
But life is NOT meaningless. Brian’s life gave so much meaning to Lee and to countless others. Brian’s art, his poetry, and his amazing, eclectic library of books — these all had meaning. Brian’s passions and joys affected other people. Brian brought love to this world. He made the world a better place. Most notably, he made Lee’s world a better place.
When a loved one dies, we’re entrusted to a legacy that’s more than their possessions. We hold this intimate knowledge of this beautiful soul that changed our lives. When we see their writing, perhaps a signature on an old card.. Or hear their voice, perhaps on an old video.. We want to imprint those memories in our minds and our hearts so they’re never forgotten. We want the world to know this amazing person. We want the world to know this unique, one-of-a-kind genius who we loved.. This person is gone from this world now, but we want the world to be able to experience their magic.
Lee, holds a gold mine of memories of Brian in her heart. Her Carpe Diem Day celebration is to donate Brian’s amazing collection of over 4000 books to the right home.
Donating a collection of this size, however, is not easy. Donating anything after a great loss is not easy. Lee’s quest for a home for Brian’s treasured collection came with challenges.
She put a social media post out looking for a home, describing the unusual collection and Brian’s parameters in his selections:
Brian, a quiet, handsome, and easy to love man from Toronto started collecting books at a young age. As he grew, so did his passion for books. He formed his own parameters as to what would be suitable for his personal collection. The basic genres for his collection were science fiction/fantasy and detective mysteries, although there are many classics in the collection as well. The books had to be used and in paperback (with a few exceptions allowing for availability and books received as gifts). Brian would never lend a book from his collection; instead he would generously buy and give a copy of the book to the one who had asked for the loan.
So now I am here to ask for what I need and for what I envision. I see someone with a big heart and big respect for a book lover’s beloved collection. I see a person/persons with a plan to receive/retrieve these books and to give/find them a home or many appreciative homes.
Thank you, dear Universe, for connecting me to what I need and want. It may be through FB, email, phone, or a knock on the door, but somehow your magic will prevail.
Lee received various leads and ideas and helpful communication from book store owners, university library directors, and SciFy/Fantasy book clubs. She had different ideas about donating to youth groups, local prisons, or nursing homes, but all came with complications. Her preference was to keep the collection together, but it was difficult to find a recipient who wanted the entire collection.
When she saw my Carpe Diem Day contest, and that it was on February 26th, 2021, the day after Brian’s February 25th birthday, she was determined to donate the cherished collection in celebration of Carpe Diem Day, despite any complications.
As often happens when we put our intentions out, the Universe provided Lee with an answer on February 23rd. She happily wrote to those of us involved with her story:
Just received a call from Genesis nursing & rehab – they will take Brian’s ENTIRE collection!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I am so elatingly, heart-pumpingly high! Brian’s books will have a forever home and we may be able to visit!
This week will continue to be emotional for Lee, as the whole month of February has been, with Anniversaries and special days that she and Brian celebrated together. I am thrilled that she found a home for Brian’s collection and that his legacy will continue to be shared with the world. Despite challenges and pain, choosing to spread joy, love, and happiness.. choosing to persevere.. Now that is what Carpe Diem Day is all about.
Goal setting is one of my favorite topics and is definitely something that keeps me feeling happy. I use my background as an Agile coach to work in small iterations, celebrate, and improve my skills as I’m accomplishing goals.
My guest this week, Hannah Kane, also has a background in Agile, and on this podcast we talk about how we can stay motivated to accomplish our personal goals. Hannah’s unique Scrum Your Wedding site is how we originally met. This is a great example of how we can use an Agile framework in our every day life.
Hannah and I both love themes and play and we talk about how if we make the “journey” of achieving a goal fun, we will stay motivated. In the end, the journey is as important as the outcome. Hannah also talks about the importance of anticipation when working towards a goal.
You can find the YouTube video of my discussion with Hannah here.
Trying out is all about trying new experiences, learning new things, and stepping out of your comfort zone. In this episode, I talk to Kelly Bates, owner of the Travel Group, Travel Souly.
When we talk about how “trying out” relates to happiness, Kelly talks about the thrill she gets from surfing, falling and getting back up. As we hear over and over again, happiness is more about the journey than the destination. This is both metaphorical and literal when we talk about travel, but can hold true with just about anything we “try out.”
Even though our travel has been limited in this past year because of Covid, there are a lot of things we can try out.. new experiences with hobbies and skills.. or we can plan with anticipation our next trip, perhaps with Travel Souly!
The thing I like most about hosting my Carpe Diem Connections podcast is the connections I myself make. It’s like a scavenger hunt to find fascinating guests — and I have this great big World Wide Web to look for them.
I hit the jackpot with the guest on my podcast this week, Klaudia Mitura. She’s an award-winning podcaster herself of the popular podcast &Happiness. One morning I asked Alexa to play a Happiness podcast for me and she played this one! Klaudia and her co-host, Kitty Newman use the letters of the alphabet as prompts to do a deeper dive into different types of Happiness. Theme-nut that I am, I was immediately hooked!
It was clear, after listening to a few episodes, that Klaudia knew not only a lot about happiness, but about the science behind our emotions as well. I was thrilled when she agreed to be on my podcast, talking about the 4th Key of Happiness as defined by Action for Happiness: Awareness.
In this episode, I question Klaudia about the practice of meditation. Being a bit of a skeptic and a person who definitely does not want to spend time thinking about nothing but my breath, I’ve been slow to fully embrace meditation, despite its constant recommendations in happiness literature. Listening to Klaudia about her thoughts and explanations was enlightening.
We also talk a bit about the practice of Emotional Intelligence and practices besides meditation that encourage being present and mindful.
Yesterday was the first of my February contests. I asked people to post their National Wear Red Day pictures on my Carpe Diem Connections Facebook Group and tag with #carpediemday.
I wasn’t really sure what to expect. This whole month I’m experimenting with trying to get more exposure for Carpe Diem Day and having fun celebrating various wacky holidays. It’s just so much more fun to be playing with other people.
I picked National Wear Red Day to start with because I figured it should be kind of easy for people to find something red to wear and post a picture. I didn’t put any “rules” around how I’d pick a winner. I wanted to see what people would come up with without much guidance about what “qualified” for a prize.
Here are some of the great entries! I just love the creativity!
Lee says: "Red reminds me to celebrate, to stop and smell the (red) roses, to create and give red-hearted valentines, and to party with loved ones until the (red) rooster crows!"
I love Lee's mysterious tease as she peeks out of her long red cape.
Eva’s red shoes walked 10891 steps yesterday. She keeps her heart healthy with daily walking.
Sean and Jack didn’t have any red, but still get mentions due to their supportive posts. Even though Sean was working, he posted a fun red Gif. And I’m very grateful to Becky and Shirley for passing on the word of the contest! Ashley also posted a supportive heart and has a whole event she’s sponsoring for the month of February!
All who participated (including those who shared the link or shared their support, even if they didn’t post a picture) are going to get a Valentine from me in which I pay them a genuine compliment (in honor of today, Pay A Compliment Day.). I’ll put the Valentines in my special Valentine basket and pull one out to reveal the $25 prize winner!
I had fun thinking about some fun prizes like some red sparkly piece of attire – shoes, mask, bowtie, or shirt.. Or I thought about a $25 donation to the American Heart Association.. Or maybe a Red Carpe Diem shirt? But, I decided to let the winner pick their own prize so they can get exactly what they want!
Now, on to the video for the Big Reveal of the Grand Prize Winner!
National Carpe Diem Day is February 26th. Throughout the month of February, 2021, I’ll be hosting 3 #CarpeDiemDay contests. The winners will receive a personalized prize designed to help them live more fully and find ways to “Seize the Day” despite the pandemic.
I’ve made it my mission to actively promote and help others celebrate and create a “Carpe Diem Mindset.” I think this has been especially important in when the world has been struggling with the challenges of the Global Pandemic. I’m especially keen to get National Carpe Diem Day recognized in 2021 while people are still struggling. We don’t need to wait for our challenges to be resolved in order to celebrate each day. It’s more important than ever to celebrate in spite of the challenges!
I’ve created this Website (www.carpediemday.com) that shares many other Websites and resources aimed at helping others live full and meaningful lives and fostering deep and meaningful connections.
I host a weekly Carpe Diem Connections Podcast aimed at sharing ideas and talking to guests aimed at living a full and meaningful life. I also manage an active Facebook community of others who are living fully and sharing ideas and deep connections.
In 2010, I lost a good friend, Craig Dunham, to ALS. Craig taught me the importance of living each day fully, despite the challenges we’re facing in our lives. I’ve written and spoken a lot about Craig. Passing along his message helps me to keep his spirit and legacy alive and pass forward his personal message of living fully:
I especially appreciate the opportunity to show my children how life can be lived without anger, resentment, bitterness or regrets. I have purged all of that from my life and intend to leave this life with nothing but love, acceptance, forgiveness and compassion in my heart. I am so ready to live life to its fullest, I only wish I would have thought to do it sooner.
~ Craig Dunham – upon learning of his ALS Diagnosis
Since his death in 2010, I have used “Carpe Diem” as a mantra in his honor, and as a reminder to live fully despite the challenges that life throws you. CD are both the initials of Craig’s name as well as the initials of Carpe Diem and form the emblem of Super Carpe Diem Woman, who leads the Walk to Defeat ALS.
Sarah Schwallier of Strides Life introduces herself as a nature walking health coach. She has a passion for helping others be their most healthy selves and to achieve their goals, whether that’s to lose weight, build strength, or just to get moving.
Sarah always adds an element of fun and playfulness to everything she does. I’ve gotten to experience this first-hand as I’ve participated in the Walk2Connect Community where Sarah is a core-coop-owner and leader.
Tune in to the podcast or the YouTube video and find out how you can stay motivated to keep exercising and why that’s so important to both our physical and our mental health!
My guest this week is Wendy Chalmers Mill, a fellow volunteer at Action for Happiness. We met virtually at a volunteer meeting and discovered we have quite a lot in common.
As we chat about in the podcast episode, meeting via a virtual community is a great way to find some new friends during these crazy days. One of the main reasons I even started this podcast is that I knew it would prompt me to meet some like-minded new friends!
I hit the jackpot in my search for the right guest to talk about Relating when I found Wendy. Not only is she the CEO for Positive Performance, but she started a new community The Wisdom Witches, with the very aim of creating a safe space for connecting during the pandemic.
Wendy, a Humanology Expert, along with her fellow wisdom witches Hazel and Kelly, are described on the Wisdom Witches site this way:
“They collectively have over 100 years of experience in guiding and motivating others to become their best selves through improved connection to their own and others’ wisdom and wellbeing.”