Someday Doesn’t Last Forever: Do It Now Or Never

Today’s post is adapted from the forthcoming I’ll Get Around To It Someday ebook the next offering in the Someday Syndrome Cure Series.

  • Someday Lesson: “Don’t wait until it’s too late” is a cliché only because no one pays attention to it the first thousand times we hear it said.

longhorndave on Flickr.comHollywood movies and TV shows are full of plots where the main character thinks they have all the time in the world to follow a dream, tell their estranged son they love him – or whatever – when the character is struck down with a debilitating disease or suddenly finds themselves staring death in the face.

It’s a popular theme because, despite the number of messages we take in about not waiting until it’s too late, we don’t think any of them apply to us.

A few years after making my decision to write, I decided to follow the path of my then favourite author Charles de Lint. He published his first novel at age 32. To a 16 year old, that was almost too old to contemplate. I mean, seriously, 32? Ancient! But I decided to be prudent and allow for unforeseen circumstances.

I loved writing as a teen and would write for hours on end, almost always complete crap, but at least I was practicing. As I entered my twenties I was scared by the realization of just how long it really takes to master writing. I let the fear stop me.

If only my teenage self had been able to return from the past to kick my twenty-something ass. When I was 16, I found and stuck to the bulletin board in my bedroom a piano ad. It showed a baby grand in an empty room with pillars, soft yellows and the wind blowing sheer curtains in through French doors.

Across this image were the words:

I decided not to learn how to play the piano because it would take ten years to play it well. That was ten years ago.

I’d cut it out to remind myself that nothing comes quickly and that it takes playing a lot of bad notes before you can play like a master.

Only two years later, with much less self-confidence and a much bigger desire for consumerism, I decided that taking that much time for anything would take too long. So, instead of pursuing the creative writing program or courses I really wanted, I settled on a Celtic Studies Bachelor that I mostly slept through and an Information Studies Master I most certainly did sleep through.

As my thirties rapidly approached, I realized that I wasn’t going to reach the published-at-32 goal I’d set at 16. I’d be lucky if I’d reach it by 40! But I still didn’t do anything about it because I realized another favourite author, Sherri S. Tepper, didn’t start publishing until much later. I had nothing to worry about.

I believed that time would go on forever and that I’d get around to writing at some point. I mean, I was a good writer; it wouldn’t take me that long to get published. Ha!

It wasn’t until I was 36 years old that I decided that it wasn’t worth living a life without writing, no matter how much time it would take to master the craft.

When I was finishing up university, I applied to teach English in Portugal. I’d been accepted to a program where I’d get a certificate and then they’d find me work. My computer was a laptop, so I pictured sitting on top of a cliff in Portugal writing a novel while falling in love with the country.

Then I got sick and decided to be more practical. I went for my Masters degree, which was supposed to get me decent work. The problem was I wasn’t happy with what I was doing, but I told myself that I needed to do this because I wasn’t well.

Twelve years later I finally said “screw it” to my health issues and left Canada anyway. And two years after that I now teach English while I write (the only difference is I ended up in Spain, not Portugal).

Fortunately for me, there was a later. I could decide twelve years after putting off my initial decision to follow my dream. I was lucky. Many people don’t have that opportunity.

We all have dreams that we’ve denied for one reason or another. How many of them could you now actually pursue? What choices have you made in the meantime that rule out, or at least make difficult, pursuing those old dreams?

Sometimes our choices have brought about limitations that we cherish (like children or spouses), but sometimes the choices have taken us down a road we didn’t really want to go down. All because we felt that we could eventually find ourselves back on the path we wanted to be on originally – the new path just being a detour of sorts.

Well, look around you. Do you see the old path? Or has the detour taken you off in a completely new direction? If you’re lucky, the new path has created new dreams. If not, you might have a lot of work ahead of you finding your way back to your path of dreams.

Tagged ,

9 thoughts on “Someday Doesn’t Last Forever: Do It Now Or Never

  1. Yikes! That’s an ominous picture! It makes me want to get on the ball and stop putting things off until “someday”. Thanks for the motivation!
    .-= Positively Present´s last blog ..finding hope on the bright side of the road =-.

  2. This post hit me right between the eyes. I have screwed around with “thinking” about writing a book for too long; like six years ago. I could have completed it by now. But there is today to start. I can’t wait to see where I will be in another six years.

  3. Alex Fayle says:

    @Positively Present
    You’re welcome! I somehow doubt that you’re someone with lots of Somedays.

    @Alex
    The line between thinking and doing in writing a book is simply writing down a few words and then writing a few more. Don’t think about the whole book – that’s just overwhelming!

  4. AM says:

    @Alex, have you heard of NaNoWriMo? It might be the push you need to get started on that book!

  5. Alex Fayle says:

    @AM
    That’s a great suggestion for Alex! Thanks! In November I plan to talk about NaNoWriMo as part of a creativity theme.

    @Alex – if you’re interested the NaNoWriMo website is http://www.nanowrimo.org

  6. That story about the piano picture actually gave me chills!

    For the most part, I think I’m living my dreams, but I’ve started working through “I’ll Get Around To It Someday” and it’s opening my eyes to a few things I’ve thought about doing in my personal life that just might be worth pursuing. Thanks always for your encouragement.
    .-= Janet Barclay´s last blog ..Tips for Securing Your Online Accounts =-.

  7. Alex Fayle says:

    @Janet
    Yes, whenever I start to put something exciting off, I think about the piano. For example I’m well aware that my fiction career will likely take 20 years to “take off” but it’s so worth it to me.

    Glad to hear that the ebook is getting you thinking!

  8. […] more in his post Someday Doesn’t Last Forever. Procrastination is also addressed by Claire Tompkins in Why I […]

  9. Alex;

    It’s been a while since you wrote this, and I’ve just found you (like many others, no doubt) via Serene Journey’s ’30 bloggers’ post. What lovely commentary you are sharing here, and much of it right up my alley – akin to the messages I am sharing. I love new insights, and this post contains some for me. I especially love the quote you shared, “I decided not to learn how to play the piano because it would take ten years to play it well. That was ten years ago.” So true — so simple and powerful — so let’s LISTEN to that advice! When I finally took the plunge and wrote my e-book it felt like climbing a mountain, but the burning desire to get the information that helped me so much out there finally overcame all my fears and reasons for procrastinating. Perhaps re-shifting our focus to the benefits of doing something (and the consequences of NOT doing it) will help us get past this weird human tendency to think we have unlimited somedays. Thanks for the insights, Alex, and I look forward to reading more. ~ Shauna
    .-= Shauna@BreathingProsperity´s last blog ..Paying Homage to Your Journey =-.

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: