You can read more about Dan and his inspirational story here. His attitude of resilience and strength is the same “Carpe Diem spirit” that I saw in my friend Craig Dunham when he was faced with an ALS Diagnosis. It’s the reason I started CarpeDiemDay.com.
Rather than ask for money, Dan asked for 140 names – one for each of the 140.6 miles of the race – of others who are battling Alzheimer’s and related diseases.
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.
Flamingos have been my personal mascot for many years now. When Sarasota Jungle Gardens offered the opportunity to Adopt a Flamingo last April, I was so excited!
Because of Covid, the park was closed at that time, but I was very impressed with all the paperwork I received in the mail, telling me about my adopted flamingo, Kamikaze – “Kazi” #38.
A couple of weeks ago, my friend, Amy Sargent, posted a cute picture on Facebook of a flamingo “kissing” her and, upon further inspection of its tag with a photo zoom, we found out it was none other than #38 – Kazi! Imagine that! Without Amy even knowing I’d adopted a flamingo, she posts a very cute closeup picture with Kazi! Out of all the flamingos in the world, what are the chances?
There are many beautiful flamingos and birds at Sarasota Jungle Gardens and many that didn’t come out to greet the park visitors. How lucky for me that Kazi is so sociable and photogenic!
I’ve been especially lonely for a pet lately. With all the travel that I usually do, it’s not very practical for me to own a pet, but this is a very cool alternative! Since I hope to make Sarasota a regular winter destination, I’ll be able to visit Kazi and his friends at least every year.
I’m loving participating in the Joy Makeover and I bet you would, too! In Season 2 of Carpe Diem Connections we’ll be doing our own deep dive into finding Joy, starting with finding Joy in the election season!
About 12 weeks ago I started a podcast, Carpe Diem Connections. I’d procrastinated because I knew nothing about podcasting and was worried that I’d be embarrassed by how amateurish it might sound.
However, with any kind of new hobby, if you go into it realizing that you have a lot to learn, and not having high expectations, you find the learning process and the improvement is usually fun!
When I’d gotten laid off in 2009, a suggestion at a lead’s group was to host a blog and interview people who I admired. This turned out to be awesome advice and it was how I ultimately got a job as a Site Editor at TechTarget and was able to network with a lot of my industry’s thought-leaders. Ultimately, I ended up with a successful consulting career and a wonderful network of mentors, friends, and colleagues in the world of Agile Leadership and Quality Assurance.
Chapter 3 of Life
Now, I’d like to do something similar in the field of Positive Psychology, particularly as I’m entering a new stage of life. I’m hesitant to call it “Retirement” or “The 60’s”.. Maybe “Chapter 3”?
“Chapter 1” was childhood and college, “Chapter 2” was career and raising children. Now, in “Chapter 3,” I’m a 60-year-old empty-nester, grateful for the opportunity to discover and experiment with what it means to live life fully.
I left my full-time contract at USAA in November, 2018, shortly after getting some bad news about degenerative back conditions. After a review of my finances and lifestyle, I came to the conclusion that, thanks to my ultra-frugal ways (and paying house-mates), I could afford to “retire.” (I wasn’t sure I really wanted to retire since I loved my job but.. I also wanted more time to travel, visit friends, and be as active as possible while I still felt healthy, energetic, and pain-free.
During this past 12 weeks, I used the same strategy I’d used in 2009… I looked for guests who I admired and were living life fully. Most were coaches or somehow involved in the field of Positive Psychology. I’m very excited and grateful to those who I met and interviewed! It’s been enlightening to hear their thoughts on what it means to them to live life fully and foster deep meaningful connections, particularly in the midst of the pandemic.
Carpe Diem Connections – Season 2 – The Joy Makeover Spinoffs
On Tuesday (Election Day!) I flew back to Sarasota, Florida, for “Snowbird Season.” I’m so lucky to be staying, once again, with wise and witty Becky Burns! It seemed the perfect time to also start a new season on my podcast, hopefully, with continued learning and improving over Season 1.
Becky has agreed to be my co-host as we talk about Finding Joy. I’ve become enamored with Ingrid Fetell Lee and her recent Joy Makeover workshop. She offers a workbook and a very interesting set of interviews, digging deeper with topics about things such as how our joy is affected with 11 different topics starting with time, money, and relationships.
Becky and I are going to do our own deep dive into these topics and add a few more that are particularly relevant for the times or for us. For example, this week, we’ll talk about Joy and Politics since the election is causing so much anxiety for so many people. As I write this, the vote is still undecided. I find it interesting that the uncertainty is causing so much anxiety, both with Covid and the election.. Uncertainty and its affect on Joy might also be part of that first podcast of the season.
In order to learn and improve, we need feedback! One of the few things I don’t like about podcasting, is that it’s difficult to get feedback. We base results on how many people listen or subscribe, so, of course, it’s helpful to see those numbers go up. However, what I really want is listener comments and feedback!!
I know that many of us listen to our podcasts when we’re out and about, so it’s not a very convenient medium for giving feedback.
However, I would appreciate any feedback you’d like to send my way by email: firstname.lastname@example.org, by using the “message” button from the podcast Website, or by commenting or IM’ing me on Facebook.
I’ve been wanting to create a new podcast for awhile. Thinking it would take a lot of time, I’d been procrastinating, but I found a platform: anchor.fm, which included a podcast named, “I Should Start a Podcast” and it turned out to be super-simple! Of course, I didn’t do anything fancy. I just kept it short and tested out the process and 30 minutes later, I’m a published podcaster!
I love listening to podcasts, more than reading blogs, because I can listen while I’m walking or exercising. One of my favorite podcasts is Optimal Living Daily about Personal Development and Productivity. Justin Malik narrates other blogs about topics I’m interested in, and in the process I’m introduced to a whole bunch of other like-minded people.
One thing I love about this age of social networking is that we can often meet and get to know the people behind our favorite blogs and podcasts. It’s like a whole new dimension of a library – getting to actually meet the authors and thought-leaders who we admire and getting to know them on a personal level!
On my new podcast, I’m hoping to have weekly interviews with people who are themselves writing or speaking about personal productivity, happiness, and living life fully.
Whether or not my podcast takes off, I will get to meet and learn from people I admire which is really cool!
If you want to have a “Carpe Diem Mindset,” first you might want to figure out things that bring you happiness and joy. For me, three things I love are walking, sunshine, and playing games – like scavenger hunts!
Now that it’s summer and there’s plenty of sunshine, I’m creating my own “scavenger hunt” by walking the trails in my neighborhood and hunting for things that make me happy… and it turns out there are SO many things I’m finding!
To start this adventure, I found a map of my neighborhood at the Town of Superior’s Website that had all the walking trails marked:
Every day, I’m hitting the trails and taking pictures, looking for things that make me smile.
Here are a few of my favorites:
What things can you find that make you smile?
I’m grateful to the Town of Superior and all the people who make this area such a wonderful place to live.
Participating in GISH (the Greatest International Scavenger Hunt) is always fun for me. I love the creativity involved and having fun with teammates scattered around the world.
This year, GISH put on a special 1-day “mini-hunt” and I actually like the 1-day version better than the usual week-long version. Given that we’re all spending more time at home, this was a great reminder that we can bond, have fun, and “Seize the Day” even when we’re not physically together.
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