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Living One Day at a Time: Moment by Moment In Appreciation


As a former addictions counselor, I always thought of one day at a time as a professional terminology not something I would actually live by. And its partner phrase, go with the flow brought to mind a Hippie existence of just hangin’ out, letting things happen haphazardly. As a New York girl with a Type A personality, these terms had no meaning to me. Hard work, planning and self-direction, were the secrets of my future-directed life.

These days, with all the uncertainty in the world, one day at a time is being spoken of often. Examining the concept, I decided to try it out. I learned that rather than being superficial, it broadens the scope of my life, expanding my appreciation of what I like, but sometimes take for granted, and uncluttering my mind from useless chatter. Here’s an example of what I’m talking about.

It’s Saturday, and I’m going to Safety Harbor Spa to work out and have lunch.

As a stand-alone sentence, that describes half of my day. But suppose I presented it moment-by moment like this:

I’m driving down Main Street, Safety Harbor, traveling between fifteen and twenty miles per hour. In the past I would have been driving twenty-five mph, the posted speed, but these days there’s a new breed in town to look out for: golf carts and wanderers. Previously, I only had to be mindful of automobiles, small trucks, and the occasional cyclist.  But it’s become more and more popular, cost-effective, and pollution minded to intersperse golf carts in the traffic flow. Though convenient, it’s a more dangerous mix now; an accident would not only impact your bumper, but direct contact with your body, or that of your child.

And what do I mean by wanderers? Those are the grownups whose parents never successfully taught them to look both ways for cars before crossing the street. Harborites have always disregarded the cross at the corner rule, but now they wander into the street mindlessly disregarding the look both ways rule. So, as I slow my pace, I am consciously looking out for the welfare of my fellow Harborites, as I observe life moment by moment, one day at a time.

Driving further down the street looking from left to right, mindful of wanderers, I observe folks relaxing at curbside tables for brunch at Vino Tinto, tempting me to forgo my workout in favor of a plate of scrumptious waffles. Resisting that temptation, I observe the lunchtime crowd at the Sandwich Shop as I continue to make my way to the Spa.

My class is at 12:00 and I rejoice when I see a vacant parking spot, first row in the paved lot, second car in. No tense winding through the lot today. Crossing the street (in the middle of the road of course), I see a blue sky with a few fluffy clouds and I feel the sun’s warmth – a 70-degree day with no humidity. I am personally greeted by the musical chirping of the birds; no harsh crow-squawking today. To my right is a cascade of multi-colored impatiens, especially full and lush this year. I reach the front entrance, where two doormen open doors for me. I couldn’t ask for a better welcome.

Inside at the check-in desk I am greeted by two cheerful staff, who usher me in. Walking the long corridor toward the exercise room I exchange nods and smiles with friendly strangers. I unfold my personal yoga mat on the floor, a throwback from pandemic days when many of us feared using the shared mats. Bending down to be seated, I feel a gnawing back pain just as the instructor walks in, complaining about her own back pain. She focuses the beginning exercises on the back muscles – an unexpected gift to me.

Next, I take a few moments on the machines in the gym, then head towards my reward: lunch on the front patio.  I pass a staff member who exclaims, “Amy, you’re glowing.” That’s my real reward for sticking to my work-out routine.

Shortly I arrive upstairs at the Fountain Grille, my luncheon destination. I’m warned that there is a twenty-minute wait today, but I am seated at an outdoor table, and given a basket of bread. Who cares about the wait, I have the best asiago bread on the planet. Apparently, the birds share my opinion. Someone has just thrown a slice on the ground. There’s an Alpha crow who lives at the top of the fountain. He immediately swoops down. His lunch has appeared before mine. After eating his fill, he calls out in the most melodic tones that I’ve ever heard from a crow. Immediately, five sparrows appear from the interior branches of a nearby bush, and fly down to claim their lunch. In an act of generosity, the crow returns to his perch atop the fountain just as my own lunch is delivered.

 My goodness. Did you notice, it took me seven paragraphs to describe the experience of

 It’s Saturday, I’m going to Safety Harbor Spa to work out and have lunch.

I guess there’s something to be said for living gratefully in the present, one moment at a time.

written by Amy Bryant, Safety Harbor Resident Blogger
Author of “You Can Go Home Again


  1. Dad would have smiled and said, “very sweetly”, a reminder to all of us – – slow down, smell those roses.

    thank you, Amy

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