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On Friday, February 24, 2012, National Public Radio aired Susan Stamberg’s interview with Alexander Payne, the writer and director of The Descendents, which was nominated for three Academy Awards. At once both charming and unassuming, Alexander described his afterthought to include the movie’s closing scene, when the father portrayed by George Clooney shares some ice cream with his daughter while watching TV. “Well, that’s what life is,” he explained, “a collection of extraordinary ordinary moments. We need to pay attention to them all. Wake up and pay attention to how beautiful life really is.”

Isn’t this a thought we should all embrace? After all, the events of a single day can make a profound impact on our lives. It seems to me we should all “Wake up and pay attention.” Rather than focusing on nitpicky nuisances, we can choose to be grateful for the privilege of participating in this miraculous world of ours. And once we frame our challenges as opportunities, the sky is the limit to what we can accomplish.

Later in the interview, Payne underscores his philosophy with another thoughtful comment. “If you were falling in love and you could go back in time and relive a day and see the banal things you did that you’d forgotten about, you’d weep, looking at that day.” Let’s all focus and enjoy this day. It is a gift that cannot be replaced.

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