Seize the Day: Day 3

First coined by the Roman poet Horace more than 2,000 years ago, diem — or “seize the day” — is one of the oldest philosophical mottos in Western history. Many of us hear these powerful words and intellectualize them, but don’t actually do them. Instead, we let the day slip by or worse, we let the day control us; succumbing to “that’s just the way it is.” We allow outside factors to control our inner world and feel completely off-balance, unfulfilled, and out of touch.

In a record-blazing heat wave blistering across western Canada, Peter and I seized the day and got up at 4:30 AM so we could be on our bike just after the 5:21 AM sunrise. We had to go to bed early to get up at such an early hour, since the goal of being on the road before the heat was a massive factor. That meant all the morning chores of prepping the food, the bike, and the route had to be done early and without any apprehension. It also meant that once we left the motorhome, we were on our own for four hours on the open road; just us, completely alone without the support of our driver and the convenience of the air-conditioned RV.

Knowing the forecast for the day was going to hit the 40-degree mark, there was no time to waste if we were going to complete the 112 kilometers we had planned for the day. The first few kilometers were enjoyable. The crisp, morning air tickled our lungs as the sun, poking through the tree, came up over the horizon, a truly spectacular site filled with a peaceful stillness. Despite the tremendous 39-degree heat of the previous day, the morning had a freshness to it. Riding in these conditions was pleasant, and for a moment we forgot about the looming heat yet to come.

The national weather station for Canada put out a statement warning citizens to stay indoors since heat across the province has not been this hot since 1937.

In fact, it went on to report that Canadians should:

  • Avoid direct sunlight as much as possible.
  • Plan to spend as much time indoors as possible.
  • Avoid strenuous activity and exercise.

Peter and I were not following either of these recommendations. All we had on our minds was, “Seize the day!”

Forty degrees everywhere else is hot, but the temperature almost doubles when you are cycling across endless black asphalt. We could feel the heat of it radiating off the road and heating up our shins and the backs of our legs. The sun was burning down on our shoulders and the tops of our ears, causing a shiny redness that sunscreen could barely keep at bay. With water consumption every 15–30 minutes, we rode fast to keep our time and beat the high heat that was rising at the height of the day.

Pushing hard, we were seizing the day. We had planned the night before, got up early, did what we had to to be ready, and then when it mattered, we focused, rode with conviction, and challenged our abilities to perform. It was exhilarating, fun, and like a valve opening to allow a full stream of flow as we buckled down and made it happen. We reached our meeting point with the team, got in our 112 kilometers, and completed a spectacular ride burning over 2,300 calories all before noon!

For the rest of the day we had the freedom to enjoy, to be together, to laugh with the kids. We could rest, relax, play, and even take a nap. Everything we wanted to do, we did. I felt both prideful and restorative to have all that time in the day to get ready to do it all over again the next day. I said to Peter, “Look what happens when you seize the day. That guy really knew what he was talking about when he said that. We’ve accomplished so much and we have more than half our day to truly enjoy life, one another, and we even have time to explore, do something new, or read and learn something helpful.” I could see how much could be accomplished when I actually seized the day and made it my intention to do so.

I’m sure Horace didn’t say, “Seize the day,” so that we could all repeat the words but not live them. I know in his wisdom he must have had the personal experience to share just how powerful his concept could be. I know that when we seize the day, we accomplish so much. It isn’t a concept, it’s a full way of being.

I hope wherever you are, whatever the circumstances, you go to bed a bit early tonight so you can wake up a bit earlier in the morning and 100% seize your day! I want you to accomplish the things you’ve always dreamed of and to have time to love your life, the people around you, and the extra hobbies, learning, fun, and frolic that all humans deserve.

Seize the day! Seize life! Seize the joy you deserve!

Much Love, JB