If you made it through my last article about the eternal struggle of human suffering and why you should face it and even sometimes embrace it, cool! Thanks for reading. I hope it didn’t get ya down. This one should be less preachy and a lot more fun.
This article is the story of My Perfect Monday sometime in the not-too-far-off future. It’s a thought exercise my wife and I did a few weeks ago as a starting point for setting long-term goals.
Why’d I pick Monday? Because it’s the worst day of the week for most of us. It’s the day of the week we love to hate and I wanted to write about the kind of Monday I would actually look forward to.
This is the article I was going to write before our Pastor Phil got me thinking deep thoughts about suffering and the role it plays in our lives. He got me thinking My Perfect Monday (as I had originally jotted it down) may be too perfect, so perfect it’s sterile.
So I’ve taken a little bit of the rose tint out of this story in parts to make it feel more raw and real. It actually ended up being a lot more fun. Hint: Things don’t go according to plan.
There’s no tragedy, only some hardship to triumphantly overcome. Just enough to add some action. And I wrote it in a narrative style, like in The Parable of The Card, to practice my story-telling skills. Enjoy!
Once upon a Monday in the twilight of the second term of the Trump presidency *…
Crispy Cabbage blinks awake as the first light of the day peaks through the open window of the 3rd-floor bedroom. A sharp pang of panic hits him. A familiar feeling. It’s Monday and the start of another work-week. He’s got to get up and face the drudgery of the day.
He starts to sit up, just enough to shake the grog of the morning, then glances over at his beautiful wife still softly snoring next to him. Relief washes over him as he realizes he doesn’t have to get up. It is Monday, but he can sleep in until noon if he wants to.
It has been more than a year since Crispy and Mrs. Cabbage left the corporate world, but Crispy still wakes up most mornings the same way. Panic then an endorphin rush of relief. Kind of an awesome way to wake up.
He gently kisses his sleeping wife on her forehead and quietly rolls out of the cushy divot of his side of the Sleep Number bed (sleep setting 25). He could stay in bed, but Crispy is excited for the day and he loves this time of the morning, especially on weekdays.
Crispy sets his coffee down and stretches in the swivel chair on his 3rd-floor balcony. He breathes in the ocean air. He can see a sliver of it in the distance through the much higher-priced and much bigger beachfront castles that cost an enormous amount of time and money to maintain. The rest of the working world is waking up and the street below is starting to fill up with rushed activity.
This is a chance for Crispy to read the newspaper, catch up on his favorite blogs, read up on stocks for his Short Stack portfolio, or just have a conversation with his wife as they bask in the beginning of another day on their own terms.
“Good morning, Honey,” Mrs. Cabbage says.
“It’s another beautiful morning, Sweetheart. And we’re gonna get a shitload of stuff done on that super-cool family business project we’re working on as a family. This is going to be a perfect Monday.”
“Mmm. It is awesome,” Mrs. Cabbage smiles. “Your parents called. They’re coming in on the Hyperloop this afternoon. I’m volunteering at the church this morning and I need you to run down to the market to get some almond extract. We’re all gonna make Christmas cookies when they get here! Oh, and toilet-bowl cleaner. We need toilet-bowl cleaner. The guest bathroom is nasty.”
Of all days, my parents had to pick this one, Crispy thinks to himself as he slouches slowly down the stairs. Cleaning toilets? Christmas cookies? This was going to be the day we finally get a shitload of stuff done on that super-cool family business project. Now the whole thing is derailed and we’re gonna run out of savings and I’ll have to clean other people’s toilets for money.
Crispy steps out into the morning sun and starts walking the short walk to the market at the corner just a few blocks away from his apartment. There’s a refreshing chill in the air that slaps him in the face. His mood changes instantly when he’s reminded where he lives. The sidewalk is full of activity, interesting things going on all around him. The spring is back in his step.
There’s his good friend Carlos, unfurling the awning to his authentic Mexican restaurant and setting out chairs. “Hey, Carlos!”
Barry is rolling racks of tank-tops and t-shirts out onto the sidewalk. “Barry! Beautiful morning!”
Crispy won’t have to clean other people’s toilets. Just his own. His savings are flush. He’s got plenty of runway to get that super-cool family business project off the ground. Besides that runway has been stretched to at least 5 years by some money already trickling in from other side projects. Plenty of time. And plenty of time to get home and clean the toilet. It’s another beautiful, leisurely morning.
Crispy takes the time to casually flip through some of the merchandise at Barry’s Board Shop.
“Love the new designs, Crispy,” Barry says. “Crispy Jr. really has an eye for fashion. Where’s he at this morning, anyways? Tell him I need more T-shirts.”
“I think he’s out surfing with his friends.”
“Fabulous!” Barry flips Crispy a fat roll of 10-dollar bills. “There’s his cut.”
The sun starts to warm the street. It warms Crispy’s face as he looks around at the tall palms gently swaying in the breeze. The songs of little blue birds lead him down the sidewalk. He’s in a trance. He steps into the intersection.
“Dooood! Pay attention! I almost ran you over with my sweet ride. Doood! This this is brand new! I know, I know, it’s so quiet. It’s a Tesla Model FU.”
“Hello, Todd,” Crispy frowns.
“Oh, hey. How’s that super-cool family business project coming along? I just earned another mill in bonuses last quarter. No big deal… Say ‘Hi’ to your wife!”
Todd peels away. Todd is super-important and crazy-busy. He lives in one of the mansions on the beach
Crispy’s mood darkens again. The Todds of the world and busyness of the street starts to get to him. He starts to notice all of the mindless zombies of Generation Z wandering down the sidewalk with the latest Specs from Snapchat, chatting at an itty bitty image on the inside of their sunglasses, paying attention to anything but where they’re rolling on their hoverboards. The buzzing of their little personal drones hovering above their heads snapping selfies starts to drown out the blue-birds.
Crispy sidesteps a lanky kid with spiky hair and acid-washed jeans who just stopped right in front of him. Dead stop. Right in the middle of the sidewalk!
Through all the chatting and beeping and buzzing and all the other annoying things, Crispy barely hears his phone ring in his pocket. It’s an old-school iPhone 12HS. A handset. Classic. Sophisticated. He smiles when he sees who’s calling and all that other noise melts away.
“Yeah, man. I can meet up with you,” It’s J.J., Crispy’s best friend from way back. He hasn’t seen him in a while.
“No, man, I’ve got plenty of time. I’ll just catch an Uber SD and meet you up th-”
Suddenly, a man in a black windbreaker bumps into Crispy and starts sprinting.
“Hold on, J.J.” Crispy feels around in his coat pocket. The fat roll of 10-dollar bills is gone!
Crispy sprints after the man in the black windbreaker. A car screeches in the intersection as Crispy barrel rolls over the hood. He vaults onto a short stone wall separating the street from the beach and leaps into the air like a flying squirrel, coming down hard on the man in the black windbreaker. They struggle, kicking up lots of sand.
The man wriggles out of his black windbreaker and free from Crispy. Crispy looks down at the black windbreaker, then up at the man, who still has the fat roll of 10 dollar bills in his hand. Just when Crispy thought the man would get away, the man runs right into a swift roundhouse kick to the face.
Knocked out with his tongue hanging out, the man lies limp in the sand. A thin curly-haired kid leans over and snatches the fat roll of 10 dollar bills from the man’s hand. The kid picks up his surf board and walks over to Crispy.
“Those Chuck Norris Free-running Parkour Roundhouse Superclasses we’ve been able to take with all of our free time have really paid off, eh Pop?” says Crispy Jr.
“Sure have, son.”
Off in the distance, Crispy sees a beautiful redhead in dirty overalls running frantically toward them. She’s completely out of breath when she reaches the beach.
“I was so worried. I was in our rooftop organic garden, harvesting some sweet, beautiful, vine-ripened red tomatoes for our meal tonight and to sell at the local, conveniently located farmers market near our house when one of my friends called. She was rolling around on her hoverboard and got an alert on her Specs and saw a Facebook live-stream of you fighting with some guy on the beach!” Mrs. Cabbage says gasping for air. “I was so worried!”
“We’re okay, honey. Nothing Team Cabbage can’t handle,” Crispy says. He gives his son a high five and winks at his wife.
A cluster of drones has gathered overhead. A curious crowd has gathered and the police have arrived. The crowd cheers wildly as they slap handcuffs on the still-woozy man in the black windbreaker.
“Hey, Crispy. Great catch! We’ve been trying to capture the Black Windbreaker Bandit for a while now!”
“Thanks, Officer Dan!”
“Any chance you can autograph my copy of your new futuristic sci-fi novel you just published? I love it and I’m a huge fan of your blog!”
“Maybe next-time, Officer Dan!” Crispy yells back. He stares into the teary eyes of his beloved. “I’ve got a toilet to clean.”
Mrs. Cabbage laughs and swipes at her tears. “Oh, just kiss me, you crazy Cabbage! I’ll take care of the toilet.”
The crowd erupts in laughter and everyone claps as Crispy dips and kisses his beautiful wife.
Barry wipes away tears and claps furiously. “Fabulous. Just fabulous.”
Later that evening, the Cabbages gather with family and friends around a bon-fire at the beach.
Crispy and Mrs. Cabbage leave the party for a little while to walk together along the beach and reflect on the day. Laughter and wine-glass clinking fade into the crashing waves of the ocean. Crispy bites the head off one of his mom’s delicious snowman-shaped Christmas sugar cookies and stares up over the ocean at the stars.
“What a perfect Monday,” says Mrs. Cabbage.
“I know. I can’t wait for tomorrow.”
The Moral of My Perfect Monday
In many ways I’ve just kind of drifted into the life I’ve got, nudged by the normal crowd on Main Street and pulled along by the marketing geniuses on Madison Avenue. I think that’s how it goes for many of us. Lucky for me, I’ve ended up in a great place in a round-about, accidental sort of way.
My wife and I already live an awesome life with our son. It’s important for me to recognize that and not get too caught up in daydreaming about the future. There are many times I think to myself, this is perfect, right here, right now.
But this My Perfect Monday thought exercise is still important to do. It can help us uncover our most important life goals and unlock a path to an even better, more fulfilling life.
I tried to pack as much of those life goals as I could into the story above. If you got lost in the late-80s-style B-movie vibe, especially toward the end, here’s a quick breakdown of what my wife and I are aiming for:
- We want time to relax in the morning and rev up for the day.
- Time to volunteer.
- Time to write a novel.
- Time to develop ninja skills.
- Time to develop gardening skills.
- Time to develop other sweet skills.
- Time to experiment.
- A fit and active life.
- An active role in the church and other community groups.
- A house or apartment near the mountains, ocean or some other beautiful spot and a front porch or balcony to enjoy the view and get rev’d up for the day.
- A house or apartment near amenities.
- A walkable community.
- No need for a car.
- A compelling reason to go outside almost every day.
- Multiple streams of income, some passive.
- A runway of cash savings so we have time to develop those streams of income.
- The option to home-school our son.
- The opportunity to work with our son on his own creative and entrepreneurial projects.
- The opportunity to work on a larger business as a family if inspiration strikes. A lifestyle business that may not pay off right away and may even require some capital investment.
- Close relationships with our neighbors.
- Adversarial relationships that are still kind of fun. Todd!
- Plenty of time spent with family and best friends.
- Flexibility in our schedule to easily work in unexpected visits and travel.
- Time to relax and laugh with family and friends in the evening and wind down for the day.
Of course, the story above is My Perfect Monday. I did my spin. My wife would tell it a bit differently. That’s okay. And it won’t happen exactly as I’ve written it out here. There’s a really good chance we’ll stick around Minnesota and won’t live anywhere near the ocean. I probably won’t have Chuck Norris skills. That’s okay too. This was a fun little exercise and it really got us thinking about what we really want in life.
What’s Your Perfect Monday? Go ahead. Write it out. Be as specific as you can and really try to live out the day. I’d love to hear all about it.
* It’s very hard to unseat an incumbent president