There Are Only Two Kinds of Days

Brian - Portland, Maine
Entered on January 30, 2009
Age Group: 50 - 65
Themes: change, illness
  • Podcasts

    Sign up for our free, weekly podcast of featured essays. You can download recent episodes individually, or subscribe to automatically receive each podcast. Learn more.

  • FAQ

    Frequently asked questions about the This I Believe project, educational opportunities and more...

  • Top Essays USB Drive

    This USB drive contains 100 of the top This I Believe audio broadcasts of the last ten years, plus some favorites from Edward R. Murrow's radio series of the 1950s. It's perfect for personal or classroom use! Click here to learn more.

I believe there are only two kinds of days: good days and great days. I believe that any day I wake up is a good day. Any day I accomplish something is a great day. It’s really quite simple, although there are still moments I forget how simple.

I didn’t always think this way. It wasn’t until I found out I had diabetes, and a brain tumor; when I discovered that I had an Aneurysm in my ceratoid artery that precluded operating to remove the tumor, I thought that was a bad day. That was more than eight years ago, I remember clearly how it felt to realize that I was now chronically ill, there was no cure, I would never get “better” whatever better was; for the rest of my life I would be tied to pills and needles and tests and doctors and restrictions.

I was totally devastated, I left the doctor’s office and went to the meditation garden at the medical facility, I was crying, feeling very alone, feeling angry, and honestly, feeling sorry for myself. I called my dad on my cell phone, I told him I was sick, really sick, he listened, asked questions and then at the end of the call he asked one final question: Are you going to be okay?

I didn’t realize it at the time, but that was the small concept that became belief. I told him; yes I was going to be okay. Really what other choice did I have?

I was diagnosed in the summer, over the course of that fall and winter I accepted life with a chronic disease, there were good days and bad days, and just a few great days. In the Spring I decided to buy a new bicycle; exercise helps control blood sugar, and I like riding.

In June almost 1 year A.D. (after diagnosis), I decided to ride in a fund raiser for diabetes, I rode 50 K and someplace on that ride the bad days just disappeared.

Someplace on that ride, I committed to my choice to be okay regardless of the circumstances. Someplace on that ride I realized that every single day is a gift, every day has its joy and trials and wonder and… any day might be my last. During that ride I realized I didn’t want my last day to be a bad day. Quite simply, that’s why I believe there are only two kinds of days, good days and great days…today was a great one.