Many people get caught up in making plans for tomorrow or living for the future, but the only moment we are actually guaranteed in life is now! THIS moment, right now, is all that we really have, and the phrase “Carpe Diem” (Seize the Day) is an important reminder of this.
National Carpe Diem Day is the ideal opportunity to celebrate living in the present!
History of National Carpe Diem Day
The earliest known uses of the phrase “Carpe Diem” in English date back to the 19th century. But the idea became even more popular in the first half of the 20th century when Robert Frost published his poem of the same name. In this 1938 poem, Frost declares his desire for children to be “happy, happy, happy and seize the day of pleasure.”
National Carpe Diem Day was established by the friends and family of Yvette Francino after she journeyed with her dear friend, Craig Dunham, through his diagnosis of ALS and subsequent death. As Yvette was inspired by Craig’s life to live each day to the fullest, even in the midst of challenging circumstances, she began to inspire others.
2014 was a notable year for Yvette, when she raised more than $12,000 for twelve different ALS ice bucket challenges. Her desire to draw more attention to the support of ALS research, as well as living life with joyful experiences and deep connections, promoted the creation of National Carpe Diem Day.
In preparation for turning 60 years old, Yvette spent the 60 weeks leading up to her birthday living out 60 different challenges that would help her to Seize the Day. As a special and personal reminder for Yvette, the letters “CD” not only stand for Carpe Diem, but were also Craig Dunham’s initials. This day gives a nod in his honor as the inspiration behind it.
How to Celebrate National Carpe Diem Day
Clearly, the most important part of National Carpe Diem Day is to do just what it says: Seize the Day! This means taking advantage of the moment and living in the present moment.
Yvette Francino has been inspired to let her creativity flow through art, make amends with someone, practice positive affirmations, do kind things for others, or even just read a book. Whatever is done should be done with plans for enjoyment and connection, with love for others and self.
Consider these ideas for National Carpe Diem Day, or come up with some creative ideas of your own:
If seizing the day seems overwhelming, then begin with something small to get accustomed to it. It can be easy to get caught up in regular routines that keep people running on the hamster wheel of life. To get out of it, even just for a second, take the moments-in-between (MIBs) to practice breathing deeply.
Even taking a few minutes between meetings, or calls, or carpool runs to focus on something so simple (and life-giving!) as breath can recalibrate the mind and the body. Concentrating on deep breathing exercises, such as inhaling and exhaling for just a few counts each, can act as a reminder that life is meant to be lived right now, in the present.
Do Something Out of the Ordinary
Drive a different route to work, drink tea instead of coffee, take a walk in the park at lunch, or buy a bouquet of flowers to keep on the desk at work, just because. National Carpe Diem Day doesn’t have to be anything complicated. It can simply be about people enjoying themselves and embracing the moment.
Watch an Inspirational Film
Sometimes motivation to take advantage of the time we have can come from inspiring stories about others who have overcome challenges. Consider these films that features people who have learned to live with the essence of Carpe Diem:
- Breathe (2017). Starring Andrew Garfield and Claire Foy, this film tells the true story of Robin Cavendish who contracted polio at age 28, and his journey to living a full life while overcoming obstacles of a physical disability.
- The Pursuit of Happyness (2006). Based on the true story of Chris Gardener, a down and out single father in 1980s San Francisco who fights hard to go from being homeless to becoming a multi-millionaire.
- Chariots of Fire (1981). This British historical drama features the stories of two 1924 Olympic athletes: Harold Abrahams, an English Jew who faces racial prejudice; and Eric Liddell, a Scottish Christian who runs for God’s glory.
- Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (1986). On the not-so-serious side of life, this fictional comedy starring Matthew Broderick tells the story of a high school student who takes full advantage of one particular day.
If the idea of a bucket list is new, then it’s time to create one! The idea is that a person makes a list of all of the things they want to do before they die or “kick the bucket”. This list can be filled with small things or large things, like attempting to learn a new language or hiking Mt. Everest. Ideally, the list will contain both small and large items–some that can be done spontaneously and others that require quite a bit of planning.
For those who already have a bucket list, National Carpe Diem Day is the perfect time to pick something off of the bucket list and do it!
The 2007 film, Bucket List, was an American comedy-drama that explored this idea with actors Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman, which may be inspiring to those working on a bucket list of their own!
Listen to the Carpe Diem Connections Podcast
As part of the exploration of National Carpe Diem Day, consider gaining inspiration by diving into the Connections Podcast by the day’s founder, Yvette Francino. It promotes positive topics such as finding joy, having healthy relationships, how to celebrate the holidays, as well as awareness and mindfulness. One excellent way to seize any day is by using these podcasts as reminders about what is really important in life.