By Tom Matlack December 27, 2010 1

In all my spiritual wanderings, one of the principles that’s sunk in is
that the past is gone and the future is yet to be. I can only be where I
am in this moment: this breath, this step, this instant. To worry about
anything else is to waste energy.
Another thing I’ve realized is that humans—men in particular—are
creatures of habit. To live in the present, it helps to have a ritual and
some regular practice. I asked guys, “What is your favorite moment
of the day? What is that moment that always makes you smile?” I
also asked their wives. Then I had to think about it myself.
These days, Ì work in my home offce more often than not. Ì drop my daughter and son off at
school, make my way back to the house around 8:30, make a fresh cup of coffee, and lumber up
two fights of stairs to my third-foor man cave. My wife Elena decorated my offce in greens and
browns, with comfort in mind. There's a mahogany day bed in the south-facing window. Surrounded
by my favorite books, framed articles, a watercolor painted by my grandmother Grace, and the
new bike trainer Elena bought me for my birthday, Ì sit down at my computer to check on the state
About Tom Matlack
Tom Matlack likes
to doze off while
reading a hefty novel.
What’s your favorite
moment of the day?
Taiyo Fujii photo/ fickr
By Tom Matlack December 27, 2010 2
of my world and my work, and make mental notes on what I’m eventually going to have to deal with.
After going through my email, I pick up a big novel (preferably 500 pages or more) and grab a
quilt. I lie down on the bed, placing my coffee cup and phone on the windowsill, prop my head up,
pull the blanket around my shoulders, and begin to read. A page (or, on a very good day, maybe
two) later, the book drops heavily on my chest, a fnger stuck between the pages to mark my
place. I doze off in a luxurious bliss.
That is one of my favorite moments of the day. What’s yours?
» Fresh coffee and sitting down to write in the morning.
Jonathan Danz writer, Fayetteville, West Virginia
» When my mind is at peace and harmonious.
Zen Master Miao Tsan Abbot of Vairocana Zen Monastery, Garden Grove, California
» My quiet time in the morning when the house is still not yet stirring … coffee in hand,
Bible in the other.
Scott Spiewak public relations professional, Seattle, Washington
» Every day at 5:30 a.m., I write a post for my blog. Writing in my blog gives me a voice.
Sure, it’s a blog about marketing, which is for work, but it’s my blog.
Jim Joseph author of The Experience Effect and president of Lippe Taylor, New York, New
» I get up very early in the morning to get myself to work and my kids off to school.
This routine includes herding my two dogs into the car for the short drive to the dog
As I hear the sounds of the lake in the quiet or the noise of the morning and note the
variability of how each morning is somehow different from every other one, it always
brings me a smile.
Bruce Blehart Darien, Illinois
» I notice that my ñancé aIways gets a big grin on his face when I Ieave for work in the
morning Iooking very professionaI. I started my ñrst fuII-time professionaI job at the
same time his company allowed him to telecommute from home. Now he gets the big-
gest kick out of seeing me off to work. He walks me out the door and walks down a
step or two on the stoop, so we are more eye level for our goodbye kiss. (He’s nearly
By Tom Matlack December 27, 2010 3
a foot taller than me.) It’s a very simple moment, but that big goofy grin combined with
what we call “googly eyes” (you know, that look of love) lets me know how proud he
is of me.
Jessica Nicholas account executive, Monterey, California
» I look forward to getting on the subway in the morning so I can read. It’s amazing how
much persistent and ubiquitous media has eroded my reading time, so I really look
forward to these moments to relax, read, and learn. I think what it says about me is
that I’m lonely and I wish I were in a great relationship, which would presumably
supersede reading as my favorite moment of the day.
Steve Silberberg small-business owner, Boston, Massachusetts
» Every morning my husband and I take a moment for what we call “Round One.” We
stop what we are doing, climb on the bed, and gratuitously love on our only dog,
Calvin, for as long as our morning schedule will allow. We both cannot help smiling
when petting that sweet, warm, puppy-dog beIIy. In those few minutes, we are
connected as a family and all three of us are sincerely happy. It’s a wonderful way
to start our day, and my favorite morning ritual. Sometimes on the weekends we
even get up to “Round Three.”
Holly and Adam Baird Nashville, Tennessee
» My favorite moment of the day is my morning journaIing practice. Three or four days
out of the week I’m able to get to it. I have coffee, read a couple of newspapers, then
open my journaI. My practice is to identify speciñc gratefuIness, to remind myseIf
of what I Iike most, and to commit to some speciñc way of being kind to myseIf and
another person that day. And my favorite moment is usuaIIy ñve or 10 minutes into
the practice when I feel a shift, like I’m settling down a bit more deeply into myself—
kind of an “Oh yeah, that’s why I’m here!” This moment speaks, I think, to my ongoing
challenge to maintain a spiritual life. I got an early start, growing up in a minister’s
family. But the “pull” or the gravity of my life is to the dry and dusty details of daily
commitments and tasks. I want to feeI the puIse of it aII running just under the surface
of the visible and quotidian.
David Nowell clinical neuropsychologist, Worchester, Massachusetts
» I smile at a woman—a total stranger—and she smiles back. It could happen anywhere,
but usually the best is when she’s walking down the street in the opposite direction.
EspeciaIIy in Manhattan, getting a woman to smiIe back is by far the greatest turn-on
for me. It gives me hope that there are women who stiII have a friendIy girI-next-door
By Tom Matlack December 27, 2010 4
appeal about them. I’ve done this with gorgeous women who seem unapproachable.
This always is my daily occurrence and you better believe it makes me happy!
Jim Dailakis comedian and writer, New York, New York
» I have two oIder chiIdren (both girIs, ages 31 and 28) whom I am very cIose to, but
they live out of town. I’m usually very busy at work and I’ll get a simple email from
either of them and it brightens my day instantly. They may only send a note asking
where their mom is, offer a Iink to a funny story on the Web, or send aIong a joke
they’ve heard at work—but it does make me smile, makes me realize how much I miss
them, and breaks up the day for me, especially on deadline. My oldest will sometimes
send a photo of my (only) grandson doing something stupid—petting a bird at the
zoo or wearing a Cleveland Browns hat (we’re huge Pittsburgh Steelers fans)—and
I cherish that effort, even though it’s only a picture.
Larry Claypool publisher and editor, Liverpool, Ohio
» My favorite time of day is when I can ñnaIIy get out from behind my computer
and Ieave my home ofñce to either have coffee with a friend or expIore art gaIIeries
around town.
Paul Niemi publicist, Albuquerque, New Mexico
» Seeing the Boston skyIine rise over Route 2 as I drive home from work.
Ryan Timpe economic consultant, Boston, Massachusetts
» When I come home from work and my three dogs greet me. It is never the same way
twice. Each one insists on getting acknowledged as I walk through the door and
before I kiss my wife. Some times are more amusing than others, but it is something
look forward to each day.
Jason Doyle Oden Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
» My favorite moment of the day is when I get home from work. My 2-year-oId daughter
screams, “Daddy! Daddy! Daddy!” and runs up to me knowing I’ll pick her up, throw
her into the air, catch her (usually), and give her a hug. It’s a thrill for her as well—I’m
6ƍ7Ǝ taII and she goes ñying!
Scott Hardy company president, Phoenix, Arizona
» I Iie down with my 6-year-oId son every night when it's time for him to go to bed. We
Iie face to face, mirror-Iike, with our heads on the same piIIow. He rambIes on about
whatever happens to be on his expansive mind. I force all the clutter out of my head
By Tom Matlack December 27, 2010 5
and just Iisten to him for a whiIe, reminding myseIf that he won't be this age forever.
EventuaIIy I capture his perpetuaIIy moving Iips between my index ñnger and thumb,
gently hold them together and say.”Time for sleep now, motor mouth.” This always
makes him laugh. As I watch him drift off to sleep, all the extraneous nonsense of my
Iife sIips away and I reaIize that at that moment I am just a dad, and that is the onIy
identity I truly care about.
Marc Munafo airline pilot, Tavernier, Florida
» I get into bed and read until I fall asleep. Even if I’m reading something I’m reviewing,
this ritual relaxes me; it gives me a sense of control—it allows me to operate in my
own space and at my own pace. I think that’s why it’s so meaningful to me—at this
point in my day, I’ve disengaged from the rest of the world and I can lose myself in the
words of an author I want to read. And what I’ve noticed is that I absolutely can’t get a
good night’s sleep without reading in bed.
Gary Kramer writer and flm critic, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
» When I spread my 12-year-oId daughter's baby bIanket on her every night . as I've
done nightly since she was a toddler.
Jim Hafner applied social scientist, Hadley, Massachusetts
» Reading aIoud to my 3-year-oId boy and girI at night. I Iove to buy them new books-
picture books and chapter books—and I adore watching the expressions on
their faces when they get a new book. Every night we are whisked away on a new
adventure from the comfort of our safe beds. I guess reading aloud to my kids is my
way of trying to be a better dad, of being there for them. I am still learning.
Read-AIoud Dad freelance reporter, Belgrade, Maine
» The moment I cherish each day is my last act of each day. There is nothing greater
than the time each night when everything is done or abandoned for the day and I
am ready to lie beside the woman I have fought for my entire life. After numerous
relationships and one dissolved marriage, spooning my wife and silently breathing
together until we are asleep is the most simple yet profound gesture of my day. It
reminds me that after sabotaging, destroying, and running away from various
reIationships in my Iife, I have ñnaIIy found peace in the strength of committing to
one woman and breathing my last conscious breath with her each night as the truest
act of vulnerability and acceptance.
Jeffrey Sumber psychotherapist, Chicago, Illinois
By Tom Matlack December 27, 2010 6
» Every time my head hits a cold pillow I release a secret smile. It’s weird. But some-
thing about the instant gratiñcation of Iaying my head down after a hard day's work
makes me happy.
Mikey Rox New York, New York
» My favorite moment comes at the end of the day, that moment when the last person
has ñnaIIy dozed off and I can be free to sit and think. Sometimes I sketch, sometimes
I type, often I write ideas in a journaI, sometimes I just Iie on the ñoor and think.
During this time I am alone with my thoughts, my ideas about what could happen,
what is possible, and how great things could be. Sometimes the thoughts even last
until morning, and on a rare occasion they come to fruition—but at that moment of
the day, anything is possible.
Tom Nardone company president, Troy, Michigan
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