Every New Day, A New Room … But Only Once
“No one ever steps in the same river twice, for it’s not the same river and they’re not the same person.” — Heraclitus (Gender-neutral edits added)
Characters in my thrillers have relied on that quote and the meaning behind it more than once. But the true meaning came home for me last night while falling asleep. Right in that strange awareness between awake and sleep, I realized that every day is a room full of chances, possibilities, opportunities.
And when we fall asleep, the door shuts on that room and we never get to visit it again.
When we wake up, the room may look the same, but the world has changed. No one, anywhere, is in exactly the same place, the same mood, given to the same emotions, attitudes, psychological states, motives, proclivities. You get to walk into a room of life only once.
Gifts and possibilities that hung on the walls of yesterday’s room may be in another place. Some out of reach now, or maybe displaced, heavier, lighter, different in color or still there but invisible. Other possibilities may be in the corner.
My characters — who often reflect my own emotions and mistakes — sometimes spend a lot of time railing against the frustrations they find in a given room on a given day. They (and I) rarely recognize the ego involved, the feeling that because I want things to go right, they ought to go write, damnit!
That frustration and anger waste time … distract me (and my characters) from seeing all the chances and possibilities filling the room that day. Wasted time also has a way of haunting us and creating its own time-wasting frustrations.
And because of that, we don’t see those goodies of the day, fail grab those. And when we go to sleep that night, the door on that room shuts for good. You might catch them in tomorrow’s room.
Wander each day’s room. See the gifts of the day. Seize those that make you feel best.
That should temper any regrets you may have in that netherspace between awake and dreams as you watch the door swing shut on a day you will never see again.