Did you ever notice how when you were a kid, a full year actually felt like a year?

The cashier at the convenience store just told me to “Have a nice day.” And it got me thinking.

I used to hate this little phrase. It can sound so insincere. But the more I think about it, the more it’s growing on me. After all, who doesn’t deserve a nice day?

So I hope you have a nice day. Why not? Shoot. Have two.

But don’t get me wrong, I’m not talking about a ridiculously happy day. No. Too much happiness can make you unhappy. That kind of elation is way too much stress. And stress is stress, no matter how you look at it. Even happy stress is still stress.

You can be gut-bustingly happy on the day of your wedding, but you will STILL be so stressed out that you will probably consume too many Bushwhacker cocktails, and—as in the case of my uncle during the 2002 incident—dance the Funky Chicken on top of the groom’s mother’s table.

So I wish you easiness. Relaxation. A very mellow, simple day. Like playing table tennis without gravity. Like sitting in a comfortable chair and watching goldfish. Like sailing a boat on mirror-like water.

My father used to look at smooth water and always say, “That water’s slicker than owl snot.” I loved this particular phrase and often used it to impress my Sunday school teachers.

I hope you have an owl snot kind of day. I hope the woman who has eight kids she’s rushing to soccer practice eats a Klondike Bar. And I hope Jason, the kid with stage-four cancer, who has horrible headaches, has a very good day.

I hope your favorite show is on TV, or that you find something worth “binge-watching.” Which is a term I just learned. A twenty-four-year-old person taught this to me.

This twenty-four-year-old told me that he had been “binging” all weekend. I told him that they had AA meetings in the Episcopal church for this sort of thing.

He laughed and said, “No, binging means finding a good show and watching a hundred of them in one sitting.”

So I went home and tried this with my wife. My wife selected a show that was produced by the BBC. It was a British period drama with elaborate costumes and lots of yearning. It was definitely heavy in the yearning department.

We binged. She loved it. But if I’m being honest, I’ve had more interesting experiences watching mold grow.

The world moves so fast, and it only seems to be moving faster. Did you ever notice how when you were a kid, a full year actually felt like a year? But the older you get, a year starts to feel like it only lasts a few months.

Life is bizarre like that. Just when you get a handle on things, it all changes, and you have to relearn the rules. New disasters happen, and you start to discover the truth about your fellow man.

Some people aren’t kindhearted. Some people are jerks. Some will hurt you and not feel sorry about it.

It’s enough to get you down in the dumps. And then, just when you didn’t think you could get any lower, you turn on the nightly news. On TV you see things so horrible that you have to take an Alka-Seltzer.

So you go to bed wondering how this world could get any more cruel than it already is. But when you tune into the news the very next morning, you find that it HAS GOTTEN WORSE. At least according to the news anchors who all have very expensive teeth.

Pretty soon, you have no choice but to watch BBC shows with your wife about the adventures of yearnful young women in English countrysides who are filled with unexplainable passions and can’t decide between marrying Gilbert or Whatever-The-Other-Guy’s-Name-Is because apparently British girls are so fickle they wake up and can’t decide which side of the bed to get up on. So they just yearn and yearn until they finally decide to stay in bed and ring for their servants to bring them a delicious breakfast in bed.

This is completely normal in BBC land, where all yearnful girls eat breakfast in bed and have yearnful maids and yearnful butlers, etc.

Well, real life is not that frilly. Sometimes bad things happen, and they leave marks upon us that last lifetimes. People leave us. Good dogs die. And you start to wonder whether life is really this hard.

Well. It is. Being human is hard. And brutal. And unfair. And nearly impossible. Life itself will bleed the energy out of you, break your bones, then bill you for the damages.

But it’s also magnificent. And giddy. And colorful. And filled with tiny moments that paint you with happiness.

So today, just for today, just for 24 little hours, just for 1440 little minutes, I hope your life is nice. I hope you binge-watch something good. Play checkers with a child. I would love it if you ate something you weren’t supposed to eat. Or took a nap.

Certainly, I know this is a tall order. And I’m too much of a realist to believe that anyone can have the best day ever simply because they want to.

But I do believe that you can have a nice one.

So have a nice day.

33 comments

  1. Pam - October 30, 2019 7:43 am

    Love this one so much. My sister loves the BBC yearnful shows. I hate them. I could binge watch This is Us, because -well, it is!
    You have a nice day too Sean and keep these great stories coming.

    Reply
  2. Tawanah Fagan Bagwell - October 30, 2019 9:58 am

    I needed this today. My friends and I just spent the night on an airport floor trying to get back home to Alabama. We are not alone. We are making the most of it and will try to have a nice day’

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  3. Diane Tuttle - October 30, 2019 11:56 am

    Hope that you and your wife have a nice day as well!! God bless you for sharing your words.

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  4. Sharon - October 30, 2019 12:25 pm

    My late Mother used to tell her six kids that God never promised easy, HE promised to stand with us when it got hard. So I do my best to count my blessings and ignore what I don’t have. Your column is one of my blessings. Thank you Sean.

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  5. Suzanne - October 30, 2019 12:31 pm

    I love this~my day is starting out very well indeed because of your words.
    Thanks❣️
    Suzanne

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  6. Mary Neal - October 30, 2019 12:34 pm

    Thank you for this today, Sean. This is one of your most insightful columns ever! I also binge watch British shows as an escape mechanism for the depressing world events. We have actually given up watching any daytime t v and see only an occasional news report so we feel we are still connected.
    We have faith the world will survive these traumatic times; it always has in the past centuries. We are 83 years old and still full of hope.

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  7. Jo Ann - October 30, 2019 12:34 pm

    Back atcha’, Sean!! Hope you, too, have a nice day.

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  8. Christy Taylor - October 30, 2019 12:37 pm

    Perfect timing! Thank you, Sean! Have a nice day!

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  9. Connie Havard Ryland - October 30, 2019 12:40 pm

    I love this. I tell people all the time to “ have a nice day and be safe out there”. In my job I see a lot of truck drivers and delivery people and sales people. The guys that work with me. All of them. Before they leave or I leave, they hear that from me. And I mean it. I don’t watch the news because I can’t stand hearing one more terrible, awful, gut wrenching thing that one human has done to another. I wake up and read your words for a message of hope, or a giggle, or a thought provoking few words. Thank you once again for jump starting my day. Love and hugs. And have a nice day.

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  10. Cheryl W. - October 30, 2019 12:49 pm

    I started the day with coffee and a piece of homemade german chocolate cake for breakfast, listening to the rain on the metal roof and looking at the fall colors. So far a Sean Good Day!

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  11. Sharon Lawson - October 30, 2019 12:56 pm

    It’s hard to find the words to describe how I feel about this piece other than to say it touched the remote places in my heart. Thank you.

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  12. Phyllis V Bergenholtz - October 30, 2019 1:39 pm

    Have a nice day
    !

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  13. Marge - October 30, 2019 1:49 pm

    I will have a nicer day because of your words today. Thank you, Sean❤️

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  14. Shelton A. - October 30, 2019 2:21 pm

    Sean…too much TV with that much yearning can do severe damage to brain parts and other internal parts as well. Just go listen to Willie or Hank Sr. I sometimes say have a good day but try to say many blessings more often. Good luck in the meantime. Hey, take the dogs for a walk. They’ll enjoy it and so will you-your hat won’t but you will. Many blessings, Sean.

    Reply
  15. Ala Red Clay Girl - October 30, 2019 2:45 pm

    This was so good! I knew a man dying with cancer and every morning he said, “It’s going to be a good day.” This made me realize that having a good day involves more of a mindset of gratitude rather than what actually happens to you. Here’s hoping that everyone has a good day!

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  16. Toots Rogers - October 30, 2019 2:53 pm

    A wise older man once told me why the years seem to be flying by. It’s because when you’re 6 years old and waiting for Christmas, that year is 1/6th of your life. So now that I’m 61, the year is only 1/61st of my life. Simple math! ha! ha!

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  17. janis - October 30, 2019 2:58 pm

    well done, Sean. well done. i wish you an ‘owl snot’ sort of day too. smooth…. <3

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  18. Steve - October 30, 2019 3:56 pm

    I’m a cancer patient. I’ve learned that having a nice day is a choice. You can choose to have a good day, or you can choose to have a bad day. It’s really the only thing you can control. But you can. You can choose regardless of circumstances. I choose to have a good attitude, and that gives me good days.

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  19. Linda Moon - October 30, 2019 4:04 pm

    I plan to have one of two nice days. Today involves dental work. With the exception of the nice and somewhat giddy dentist, it will not be nice. And the bill will be expensive. But, tomorrow is another day. I can’t find enough words for what I hope for Jason, so I’ll just hope he has one nice day today and then another tomorrow and many more tomorrows. I love magnificence and giddiness and color. Because you reminded me of those and wished me a good day, Sean, I WILL have a good one in spite of….well..JUST LIFE! You have a nice day, too…and the beautiful BBC-Binging Jamie also!!

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  20. Mark 3:26 - October 30, 2019 4:19 pm

    Absolutely the simple truth!

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  21. Annak - October 30, 2019 4:36 pm

    I’ve never understood why so many people seem to have a problem with being told to have a nice day. Sure, it may not always come across as truly sincere, but it is a more pleasant ending to transactions and encounters than could otherwise be expected in this day and time. Always love your take on things, Sean!

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  22. Ann - October 30, 2019 4:42 pm

    …. and I hope yours is even nicer!!

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  23. Susie - October 30, 2019 6:53 pm

    And it has been a very good day….

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  24. Sheryll Ridgway - October 30, 2019 7:02 pm

    When I was 47, a young wise kid (my 12 year old ) told me the same thing. Now I’m 70, and it’s even more real. My hope for him now, is that he would start seeing the nice in his days. Thanks for reminding me of this.

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  25. Sheryll Ridgway - October 30, 2019 7:05 pm

    Sorry, my comment was suppose to be for toots rogers.

    Reply
  26. Bill T in the Panhandle - October 30, 2019 8:11 pm

    I’m not a fan of “Have a nice day”. I think most times I feel it’s not sincere . It’s because the boss said to do it. I prefer “Make a great day!” Us veterans get a lot of “Thank you for your service” which I appreciate, especially since I’m a WWII, Korea and Vietnam era veteran plus all the little squabbles in between those.

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  27. George T Jacoby - October 31, 2019 4:54 am

    I always preferred the phrase “slicker’n snake snot” for its alliteration, and “slicker’n greased owl feces” (or words to that effect). This is popular in north Louisiana and may be heard across the South along with other local variants. Personally, I think it’s finer’n frog hair, and there ain’t but one thing finer, and that’s split frog hair (according to Grandpa Jones, late of Hee Haw and the Grand Ole Opry). 😎

    Reply
  28. Julia Hornsby - November 1, 2019 5:08 am

    This was meant for me! I love hearing ” Have a nice day”! You can usually tell if it’s sincere! So I’m telling you to “Have a nice day”! I had one today So Good night!

    Reply
  29. Corie Pressley - November 1, 2019 12:13 pm

    You are awesome Sean. I really needed this today. ❤️

    Reply
  30. jack - November 2, 2019 2:44 pm

    Did I say, ” HAVE A NICE DAY?” Well I meant it. I am behind on reading, few problems here, but I do hope you have a nice day, I plan to!
    Sherry & jack

    Reply
  31. Jon Dragonfly - November 2, 2019 2:46 pm

    “Life is colourful and filled with tiny moments that paint you with happiness.”
    Well said, I’ve saved that phrase. Thanks, Sean.

    Reply
  32. Dru Brown - November 5, 2019 8:41 am

    Yes. It breaks your bones and bills you for the damages. But you are fantastic. I think there is some Moose Tracks ice cream left . . . .

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  33. Abele Livy - November 5, 2019 3:24 pm

    One of my favorites….I really believe this is going to help me do just that….have a nice day by noticing what is nice….and so much is….like reading this. Thank you Sean.

    Reply

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