Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Danger, beware!

"There's a danger in the word 'someday.'" --Henry B. Eyering.

I've been thinking a lot lately about the danger of Someday.

Someday I will take that trip. Someday I will actually ride that roller coaster. Someday I will learn how to sew something useful. Someday I will go back to school. Someday I will read that book sitting by my bedside. Someday I will be brave and befriend that new neighbor. Someday I will begin an exercise program. Someday, someday, someday...

The problem is that Someday often doesn't come. Someday doesn't make itself manifest until we create it. Oftentimes, the Somedays that we yearn for are secret longings of our hearts, things we don't tell another soul about but quietly wish we could or would do.

The problem with waiting is that none of us know how much time we're allotted here, and how sad would it be to get to the other side of life only to realize that while we did our best and what was required of us, we could have experienced a lot more, found much more enrichment and joy along the way.

Maybe I'm all introspective because I turned 40 last month and I'm now doing the whole Am I Where I thought I Would Be thing. Gratefully, I have accomplished much of what I envisioned when I was 18. I have waited, however, for other things that could have brought me joy much sooner.

For example, I've been a Someday I'll exercise person for years. I had a gloriously fast metabolism as a kid and then I hit 30. Oy. Those insidious pounds crept on one by one until I looked at myself in the mirror and wondered what had happened. Again, maybe because of the milestone birthday and maybe because I managed to lose a couple of pounds from a brief illness--whatever the reason, I decided to keep those few pounds off and begin melting away the rest.

I've exercised and eaten smart, and have lost roughly 20 pounds since May. My goal is another 20. It's gratifying to see real results and knowing it's coming because I'm working at it is that much more satisfying. Who knew I would come to look forward to jogging? I used to be winded climbing a flight of stairs.

Am I sounding like an infomercial for weight loss? I don't mean to. I just want to throw this out there, that I have a renewed sense of faith in our secret dreams. The only thing holding us back is ourselves. I know this to be true, because I've done it. I came across a quote the other day, and now I can't remember where I saw it, but basically it asked if we are hanging out in the rear mezzanine of life.

It hit me squarely. I don't want to be standing in the shadows of my own life. I don't want you to be standing in the shadows of your own life, either. Rabbi Zusya said, "If they ask me in the next world, 'Why were you not Moses?' I will know the answer. but if they ask me, 'Why were you not Zusya?' I will have nothing to say."

We are all unique, and we all have talents, some of the bizarre. Doesn't matter how weird or inconsequential we think they are; we have an obligation to ourselves and those in our realm of life to use those talents and pursue our secret dreams.

Take that class, go on that walk, take that vacation with your sister, do something carefree with your kids, read that book, write that book, learn to play that musical instrument, save a little pocket change for that silly froo-froo home decor thing you really want but don't really need. Love your family with abandon, their faults and all. Think of one good thing your spouse did for you last week and give him/her a big, fat kiss for it.

There is so much good in this world, and so many opportunities for us to do those things we want to, whether small or big. Beware of Someday and instead, reach inside to where you are uncertain or self-conscious. Rip that secret dream from its hiding place in your heart and put it down on paper. Smile.

2 comments:

Nick@Nite said...

I liked reading this post. Thank you for putting it out there. I can think of a few Somedays buried deeply.

And congrats on the minus 20.

Nancy Campbell Allen said...

Thanks, Brian. I figure we're only halfway done with life, right? That should give us plenty of time to do all those things we've been wanting to. ;-)