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Miranda: “Someday” is today

someday_sky1I can’t remember where I picked it up, but at some point last week I heard the old reminder “‘Someday’ is today.” Those three words have been repeating in my head ever since.

When you aspire to living in the moment, it’s easy to forget about all those things you want to do “someday.” The only things that belong on a “someday” list, however, are things that you might be interested in but won’t regret if you never get to them: like taking a Thai cooking class or getting dreadlocks. If the prospect of not doing something on that list is upsetting, then it doesn’t belong on a “someday” list. It should move onto a real agenda. Because really, someday is today — and if dreadlocks really speak to who you are, then you need to figure out how to make that happen now, rather than leaving it to fantasy.

While I continually make progress incorporating creativity into my life — an erratic but upward stagger — I realize there are things on my “someday” list that I really could — and should (“should” because it would make me happy) — be doing right now.

For example, I’d like to have an art space in my basement. I have a huge, unfinished basement that is dry and not too unpleasant. There isn’t a lot of stuff down there because we moved many things into storage when we put our house on the market. We have a playroom of sorts in one area of the basement. Why not cobble together a studio so that I can do art projects whenever I like, without taking over the kitchen table or the dining room? A place where I can leave projects mid-progress, without having to clean everything up after every creative stint? I could put something together with little or no cost. Sure, I’m trying to sell my house, but so what? I don’t think that an informal studio area, even if it does get a little cluttered, is going to bother prospective buyers. (And the whole house selling thing is a “someday” trap if ever there was one.)

I also realized that I have another category of “someday” items that I never intended to put off; they’ve been relegated to the “someday” list by accident. These are things that I think I’m going to do “tomorrow,” but then tomorrow never comes. Every week I seem to repeat the same thing: “Well, THIS week is really busy because of X. Next week will be better, and then I’ll be able to do Y.” But then the next week I’m all “Well, THIS week is really busy because of Q. Next week…” And so on. Of course, this mythical week of relative calm and predictable schedule never arrives — and so I eternally put off whatever it was that I wanted to do. It’s a slow kind of death by the best of intentions. Who am I kidding? You’d think I’d have figured it out by now. I have five children and a freelance career. Obviously, relative calm and a predictable schedule are not high on the list of likely outcomes. Some weeks will be better than others; some weeks will be busier than others; but really, the bandwidth is not going to change that drastically.

Here are two examples of things that I intend to get to, but never incorporate as reliable habits:

  1. I’d like to spend less time on the computer (specifically time wasted on the computer). I always feel better when I put my laptop away for a day. And the kids love it too. Anyone who really needs to reach me urgently has my cell phone number. Even if I don’t go fully unplugged, I know I’m better off having set computer times — a few brief stints at specific intervals. Aside from my two full workdays (when I’m glued to my laptop nonstop) there is no reason that I can’t adopt a more reasonable computer routine. Making this happen today instead of later means spending more time focused on the kids, now, when they need me, which is another “someday” item of its own. Do I want to wait until ALL the children head off to college and I realize that I missed my chance to spend more time with them — and that the false promise of “someday” has actually evaporated?
  2. I’d like to get back on top of dinnertime. I usually cook something vaguely nutritious at least four or five times a week, but lately it always seems like my oldest one has just returned from work (at a coffee shop) and isn’t hungry or I cooked something that the ninth-grade son doesn’t like or I timed things badly and my stuffed squash isn’t actually ready until 8:00 p.m. — which is bedtime for the pre-schooler. (Tonight’s scenario, for example.) I want to increase my repertoire of yummy “regular” meals (the most recent set is getting tired) and add a little more ceremony — and creativity — to dinnertime.

Those are my “someday” items for the moment. I can’t say that “work on my book” is on my “someday” list, because I AM actually writing with some vague regularity right now. I’m even running, although not more than 2-3 times a week — but running nonetheless. So there are two perennial “someday” items that I am actually doing.

How about you? What’s on your “someday” list that you really should and could start doing right now? And what “someday” items have you actually moved into the “now” column?

13 Comments Post a comment
  1. Cathy #

    thanks, m. i needed this, and i’ll start by adopting your number 1.

    2. return to a reg exercise routine. dh and i are discussing making s’d tkd class a family one instead. the toughies there are dragging #1 son to it and it meets at our usual dinnertime. getting back to yoga is now feasible in my healing process. ican do that in the am, as long as i am able to put down baby c w/o her getting fussy or into too much trouble.

    3. her nap is supposedly my ms writing time, but that has dwindled in the past 10 days – the writing, not the nap for a change. recommit today.

    November 6, 2008
  2. My someday list: I’d like to return to dollmaking, finish embroidering the tablecloth I started in 2000, teach myself to make jewlery, and find the time to do something creative with my hands (besides typing at a manuscript) every day. I’d also like to find more time to enter writing contests.

    My novel was a “someday” item that I moved into the “now” column. While I was happy and comfortable being “just a playwright” I wanted to see if I could actually write a book.

    November 6, 2008
  3. Brittany, I hear you on the handwork. I used to knit or do needlepoint when “watching” TV and always enjoyed that. When the time comes that I’m no longer holding a baby all the time, I want to restart those projects…I know, “someday”!!!

    November 6, 2008
  4. Liz #

    This quote always goes through my head when I start thinking this way, said by Mr. Krabs on SpongeBob SquarePants, when Squidward tells him he’ll get on a Krusty Krab-related task “tomorrow” :

    “Aye, What is today, but yesterday’s tomorrow?”

    (I’m sure he’s not the original utterer of the phrase, but that’s the version that I always use to push myself to act. It came to mind right before I agreed to NaNo.)

    November 6, 2008
  5. And how IS NaNo going, Liz? I fear our dear Brittany has been slain by a barrage of health woes…I can’t imagine she’s been able to churn out 1,600+ words a day!

    November 6, 2008
  6. I gave up on all NANO aspirations. It takes a long time to recover from whooping cough/pneumonia and since I’m dealing with both at once, I’m saving my energy. I still want to get my rewrite written, but I feel a general lack of mental stamina. All I want to do is lay in bed and play pathwords on facebook. How depressing.

    November 7, 2008
  7. Cathy #

    i’ll play with you, brit! even if i said above that i’ll cut my computer drift time. 😉

    November 7, 2008
  8. Poor Brittany. I hope you are finally getting the support you need on the home front 😦

    November 7, 2008
  9. Liz #

    I’ve broken 10,000 words & taking it one day at a time. I’m continually being slammed with events and emotional upheavals, but I’m (unlike poor Brittany – that sounds AWFUL) not too sick to type, even though I have an infected lymph node. I think what is making it possible for now is that my “novel” is pretty much me puking up a plot. Next month I’ll go back and make it more of a story. So as long as I don’t start critiquing my work, I have moderate to good hopes.

    November 7, 2008
  10. Cathy #

    rock on, liz!

    November 7, 2008
  11. oh …number one makes me feel a bit uncomfortable … i spend an inordinate amount of time on the computer being productive … and i spend JUST as much time on being unproductive … eep!
    ok … i need to work on number one too ….

    i’ve recently done your number two … taco bar dinner is a kid favorite …. and i always like lunch the next day with the leftovers ….

    i need to make a photo album of summer vacation … i was going to do it for my dad’s bday … then for my husband for an anniversary gift …. now i need to get moving on it and give it to my dad and my husband for christmas ….

    November 8, 2008
  12. wow, i see lots of things i need to do on ya’ll’s lists! agreed on miranda’s number 1. i, too, spend too much unproductive time on the computer. the surfing just sucks me in sometime.

    i’m all up for getting back to a regular exercise routine as well. i’m ashamed to admit that, before kids, i was an avid triathlete, mainly off-road adventure racing. my workout time was always early in the a.m. now that’s no longer possible (unless i get up at 4:15 instead of 5:15), so i have to come up with another plan. evenings just doesn’t cut it either. lunch at desk and workout at the end of the day before i leave for the day is a possibility.

    the other think i want to do is create more things over than jewelry. more mixed media collage, more sewing projects, etc. my jewelry is my bread and butter show wise, but my attention span is wavering greatly at this point…

    November 9, 2008
  13. Liz–you’re an inspiration! I think your attitude is perfect, and from what I understand, exactly the point of NaNoWriMo. Just get it all out there–worry about editing later.

    Elizabeth–I do something similar with “make your own pizza” night. Everyone gets a hunk of dough for one pizza, and all the toppings are set out all over the kitchen island so everyone can make their own dream pizza. (My ninth grader and I are big fans of fresh cilantro on our pizzas.) The only drawback is that with such a large family, we can’t bake all the pizzas at once…I need a double oven!

    Kelly–I cannot believe you get up at 5:15! And it sounds like you’re up being busy in the evenings, too. How much sleep do you get?? So impressive on the triathlete work. My own athletic aspirations have just been put on ice, along with my right foot. Did something to my Achilles tendon while running yesterday…so much for being a weekend warrior!

    November 9, 2008

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