Drexel University's mascot, the Dragon

Drexel University’s mascot, the Dragon

Think like a peacock and decide when to show your brilliance.

Think like a peacock and decide when to show your brilliance.

Mark Twain wrote, “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did. So throw off the bowline, sail away from the safe harbor, catch the trade winds in your sales. Explore. Dream. Discover.”

Twain’s words are a good introduction for April 23rd, TAKE A CHANCE DAY. At work and at home, with long-range plans, fragile hopes or heartfelt dreams, now is the time to take a chance, give a goal your best shot, or think like a peacock and proudly spread the feathers that show your brilliance.

Or, for a lighter endeavor, April 23rd is also “TALK LIKE SHAKESPEARE DAY” and “INTERNATIONAL NOSE PICKING DAY” (I couldn’t find out the original source for this second one, but I can guarantee it wasn’t my mother, at least not for public behavior).   April 23rd is also “SLAY A DRAGON DAY,” which can be a nudge to either slay your own personal dragons or slay dragons of all kinds, everywhere.

Here’s an interesting response to the day for slaying dragons. Writer, painter and sculptor Brian Andreas wrote, “Anyone can slay a dragon…but try waking up every morning and loving the world all over again.”

April 23rd is pretty much like every other day in April…and every month of the year. It comes with opportunities and challenges, joys and sorrows, the feelings of success or the struggles of going two steps forward and one back…or three steps back. At the end of the day there can be a sense of exuberance or exhaustion, or sometimes numb relief. Whatever it is, each day belongs to each of us, to do with it as we will.

Annie Dillard, author of PILGRIM AT TINKER CREEK, reminds us: “How we spend our days is of course how we spend our lives.”


Taking the stairs instead of waiting for an elevator.

Taking the stairs instead of waiting for an elevator.




Filed under Dementia/Alzheimer's, importance of doing good things, just doing the best we can, lessons for great-grandchildren, special days in April, special quotations

47 responses to “HOW WE SPEND OUR DAYS

  1. Ah, I think that I recognize those last stairs! At the fort in Ft. Scott perhaphs?
    Mark Twain has it right! I need to listen and do as he says because I believe it. Sometimes my energy these days doesn’t match my thoughts! Weather tomorrow is to be lovely here as it wasa today. I hope you are getting some of the same. Happy Weekend!

    • You are so right, Claudia. These are the stairs to second floor of the main visitors’ center at Fort Scott! 🙂 Each time I see it I remember seeing a young visitor crossing his arms and saying to his parents, “No thanks. I’ll wait for the elevator.” 😉 It’s a good reminder for me, a nudge to do the leg work myself to reach my goals, instead of waiting for an easier route!
      The weather here is gorgeous, too, and I wish you a very happy weekend!

  2. Hi Marylin, I will try to think of something to do tomorrow for “Take a Chance Day.” I love that idea.
    And this, ” “Anyone can slay a dragon…but try waking up every morning and loving the world all over again” is priceless. 🙂

    • Thanks, Joanne. I’m trying to decide on something I really want to try tomorrow, too. It’s such a good day, I’ve even decided to hold on to the idea and use it on days other than April 23rd. The same applies to Brian Andreas’ quote, too. 🙂 Love and hugs to little Penelope. ❤

  3. April 23rd is also my sissy’s birthday, Marylin! I love “Take a Chance Day.” I might modify it slightly to “Take the bull by the horns.” I need to move forward on my WIP. My progress last weekend was disappointing.

    • “Take the bull by the horns” works for me, Jill! Very appropriate and much more specific and aggressive for some of the things I need to get done.
      If you’re going to focus on your WIP tomorrow, will your sister understand that you wish her Happy Birthday at the same time you take the bull by the horns? 😉

  4. Once again you have out done yourself! Loved your post…and when were you in Philadelphia? If I’d known I would have driven in to meet you. “…Explore. Dream. Discover.” ~ a favorite quote of mine. Thank you for sharing your clever tidbits of date trivia. As always, I enjoyed them very much. XO

    • Aw, thank you, Robyn. Twain’s quote is one of my favorites, too. It was 14 years ago when I was in PA for a writing retreat, long before I even knew you. If you bring your photography talents to Colorado’s Garden of the Gods, give me a call and I’ll take you to lunch at the main visitors’ center. The views are stunning!

  5. Your posts never fail to prompt remembrances of things past – or present. Jolly good stuff here. Some observations:

    I always take the stairs because I see more steps on my iPhone health app.

    Last April we saw peacocks in a garden in Charleston, SC. I learned then how aggressive and temperamental showy peacocks can be. Great quote!

    Since days of yore I have remembered Shakespeare’s birthday (also his death day). For the last two years Shakespeare has been my theme on April 23. Tomorrow I’ll be posting a dandelion recipe instead.

    I agree with Robyn’s assessment of your posts, Marylin.

  6. Thank you so much, Marian. These steps at the main building at old Fort Scott should count double; they’re almost straight up! And when they’re wet or icy, they have to close them off and tell you to use the indoor stairs.

    As stunning as they are, the male peacocks (and only the males are so brightly colored) can be aggressive and obnoxious, for sure. There has to be a quote from Shakespeare that sums up peacocks and cocky males! 😉
    Hugs to both you and Robyn for your assessments of my posts! ❤

  7. juliabarrett

    Wow. I needed to read this today. I think I will print Mark Twain’s quote. Perhaps find a craft-type version and frame it. Thanks, Marylin.

  8. As your post highlighted last week – everyday is a gift and the result is in the unwrapping. We Brits are celebrating Shskespeare this weekend with a live TV performance from the Royal Shakespeare Company. Lots of past and present Shakespearean actors taking part…should be a bit of a fest!

    • On the news this morning, it showed snippets around the country, in cities and on playgrounds, of children and adults holding up placards with their favorite Shakespeare lines on them. Some of the card holders were dressed in appropriate garb, and the children were especially cute. That’s as close as we’ll get to our non-Royal Shakespeare Company, Jenny, but it’s still fun. 😉

      • It sounds wonderful, Marylin. I wonder if there will ever be another writer to have such lasting impact!

      • I don’t know, Jenny. On PBS I recently watched a panel of British Literature scholars argue that very question. Of the writers and playwrights they discussed as “those to watch carefully” as replacements for lasting influence, I didn’t even recognize half of the names they discussed! ;(

  9. Over here in the UK it’s celebrations for our patron saint, the dragon-slayer George, and the 400th anniversary of William Shakespeare’s death. So glad the sun is shining for all the festivities. And yes, those slain dragons do have a habit of re-awakening!

    • Would George have agreed with Brian Andreas’ quote, do you think? 😉
      Over here, we don’t have a patron saint for slaying our dragons, except in children’s cartoons, so mostly we focus, metaphorically, on fighting the dragons, but we do have a seasonal tea that is available only in April called George’s Robust Tea. Maybe it’s for St. George?

  10. These are interesting days Marylin – slaying dragons and taking chances! I’ve already taken part in Shakespeare Selfie day today – all the libraries in the country are tweeting photos of people holding quotes from Shakespeare – I chose ‘double, double toil and trouble’ 🙂

    • The national news had quick snippets of some of the photos, Andrea. One was of a toddler in a muddy outfit, and the mother was holding the quote “Out, out, damn spot” above. 😉

  11. Keeta

    Your writings always give me good food to ponder and embrace in my life, Thanks😍

    • Hi, Keeta. My mother is over her pneumonia now, and Jim and I driving home this weekend. NOW can we get together for coffee and catch-up conversation? Talking to you always gives me much to embrace in my life! ❤

  12. I love the Mark Twain quote, especially. I’ve come a long way in my attempts to press forward in spite of the fear of looking foolish or the fear of pain. On the other hand, I’ve never had much trouble rationalizing NOT doing housework, yard work, etc., because of a desire to make the greater investment in relationships. Oh yes, and then there is the laziness…. 🙂

  13. Sounds like you chose wisely, Jane. 🙂 I have many ready excuses for not doing chores, too. Other things are more important.

  14. Spreading plumes like a peacock sounds perfect. I laughed at nose picking day. And we should all view each new day as a gift, Marylin. ❤️

    • Not on many days do I see spreading plumes like a peacock as even a possibility, Tracy. In fact–and if it weren’t for her dementia–my mother would be embarrassed if I told her that on some days the idea of picking my nose is actually a more realistic goal! 😉
      But, still, I do know that each new day is truly a gift.

  15. It’s the Annie Dillard quote that spoke to me most today. I’m spending a day enjoying sunshine after rain, clean car after dirty car, a walk with my husband, conversation with friends, a new chair on the deck, and a good book. If we could have squeezed in children and grandchildren yet, that might be a perfect way to spend a day . . . and a life.

    • Oh, I know exactly what you’re saying, Shirley. On those perfect–or nearly perfect–days, I’m in awe of the wonderful-ness of life and all it holds.
      But then the next day or the next, when life tilts and things loose their luster, THAT is when perspective requires deep breaths, quiet times, and an effort to focus on the joys and blessings. I think Annie Dillard is speaking of those days, too; how we search and strive in spite of some days, as well the focus on joys of other days, also defines how we live our lives. There’s just more energy spent “slaying the dragons,” maybe? 😉

    • I just read about your upcoming adventures, Shirley, and you might tuck a paperback copy of PILGRIM AT TINKER CREEK in a back pack. You two have a lot in common! 😉 Have a wonderful time.

  16. Jim

    When I saw your “Talk like Shakespeare Day”, I smiled as I was reminded of a quip by someone regarding Hillary’s secret, highly paid Wall Street speeches: “They must have been delivered in Shakespearean prose for that kind of money!” 🙂

  17. And if she had dressed up in authentic Shakespearean garb, she could have made even more money on her speeches! But she might have set herself up for future comments–like the one from Hamlet: “The lady doth protest too much”–when she complains about unfair criticisms. 😉
    Thanks, honey. Kind of like being back in the classroom. Our students could have had quite a time with “Talk Like Shakespeare Day.” ❤

  18. Another beautiful post to reflect , thank you Marylin.

  19. Hi, Marylin — I missed Shakespeare Day!!!????!!!! I was in Wisconsin, in a time warp, celebrating my beloved aunt’s life with my parents, the surviving aunts/uncles, and all my favorite cousins. How I spend my days is how I spend my life. These days, it’s focused on family.

    I enjoy your reminders….. Cheers!

    • Sometimes a time warp is a good thing, Tracy, and celebrating a beloved aunt’s life with your parents and the surviving siblings and cousins sounds like a very good thing. You can dress up and talk like Shakespeare another time. This gathering was much more important. Wishing you the best! 🙂

  20. Glee

    The quote from Mark Twain always reminds me of my nephew Matt. That’s when he sold his belongings (except what fit in his backpack) and traveled the world for 6+ months. His spirit of adventure is greater than mine, but it was a dream come true for him!

    • I’d completely forgotten about that, Glee. (This is just one of the many reasons I need my cousin reminding me of things. 😉 ) He was in his 20s wasn’t he, so it was a long time ago, but I remember Mom commenting that she hoped he had safe places to stay. You know how moms are.
      Hugs and love to you and your newest sweetie grandbaby, little Jameson.

  21. Molly

    I am really surprised that Facebook hasn’t tied into the Talk like Shakespeare day. Facebook has (or at least used to) have an option under languages to choose PIRATE! It was a lot of fun! Shakespeare talk would be fun, also!

    Thanks for another wonderful post, Mom!

    • Now that says a lot about language priorities: there’s an option under languages so you can easily talk like a Pirate, but nothing to help you talk like Shakespeare. 😉
      Thanks, Mookie. And if you decide to teach your students to talk like Pirates instead of Shakespeare, I will understand. It would also be more fun to dress or put on makeup like Pirates than Shakespearean characters. ❤

  22. Great quotes. I especially love the Mark Twain one and it inspired me to move to Spain.

  23. Mrs. Warner,
    You read this quote to my class eighteen years ago. I can tell you that it still impacts me much the same way that it did then. Also, talking like Shakespeare requires a significant amount of creative expletives and phrase-coining. Talking like a pirate merely requires some slurring and the strict use of gendered pronouns for all voyage-essential inanimate objects.

    • Thank you so much! Which class were you 18 years ago? I see a sweet little child in your picture (younger than my grandchildren) 🙂 How time flies. Thanks for taking the time to leave a comment.

      • Honors English, Sophmore year of high school. I was your TA for a while, too, for creative writing. I’m Angela Sales (Landchild, now). That little guy is my son, he’s five now.

  24. ‘Think like a peacock and know when to show your brilliance’ Love it! Your special days amaze me Marylin. Nose picking day? The mind boggles! But the Mark Twain quote really says it all. Take a chance, just do it. I feel like that every day lately, even when it feels like three steps back, I try and remember that tomorrow there’s always that chance I’ll take one step forward! Thank you my friend for sharing your unique brand of inspiration and encouragement with us. I needed to read this today 🙂 ❤

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