Miranda: “Someday” is today
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:
- 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?
- 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?