april showers + may flowers: positive thinking in tough times
stop and smell the roses: 5 ways to be present now

do what you want now: why i've stopped waiting

 

"Life is available only in the present.
That is why we should walk in such a way
that every step can bring us to the here and the now."

Thich Nhat Hahn

 

 

For the past year or so (and maybe even longer than that!), I've been waiting. Waiting for things to start. Waiting for the time to come when I can stop doing what I'm doing now and start doing what I've always wanted to be doing. I'll come up with a creative idea or storyline and think to myself, "Oh, I'll just do that when I'm writing full time..." or, the lesser evil, "I'll work on that this weekend when I'm rested." I put things off because I'm relying on that wonderful, promising "someday" -- the time when I'll be free to do whatever I want to do, all the time. The time when I'll have all the time in the world and I'll be constantly and continually inspired every single day.


Much as I hate to burst my own bubble, I've recently come to the realization that a time like that is not going to come around. Sure, I might be able to leave my job and write full time. Yes, I might be able to fulfill my lifelong dream making a living as a full-time writer. But that doesn't mean I'm going to stumble into some magical world in which I am never busy, never stressed, and always free to do whatever creative thing my heart desires. Let's be real here: that's not reality. No matter what you're doing, where you're working, how you're living your life, there are a million reasons to push something off until another day. 


Rather than get bummed out by the notion that there is no magical place in which all of my writer dreams will come true, I've decided to take the approach that I stress again and again on this site: I'm going to live in the present. I'm not going to put my writing on pause until the day I leave the 9-to-5 behind and start writing full time. Though sometimes it seems easier to do so, I'm going to stop allowing myself to default to someday.


Admittedly, waiting has been a bit of a guilty pleasure of mine. It's nice to think, "Oh, yes, I'll do that when I quit my job and have all the time in the world." When that's actually a real possibility, the use of that excuse seems quite logical. Why in the world would I push myself into a do-it-all mentality right now, when I can wait till the time when time isn't an issue? Silly as it sounds on the screen, in my mind this has been making perfect sense for a long, long time.


I don't know what caused the switch to flip, but about a week or so ago I realized that I was spending all of this time waiting for a day that might never come. Even with all of the planning and preparing and hoping and dreaming, there are no guarantees. A million things could happen that would cause me to put the dream of writing full time on hold. And even though I still believe it's a realistic possibility -- even though I can still see that shimmering light of a dream-come-true out on the horizon -- I know waiting until someday isn't the choice I should be making. 


For the first time in a long time, about a week ago I picked up a notebook and pen and started scribbling. In less than thirty minutes, I'd written a short story -- the kind of story I would have enjoyed reading. It was a small thing, but it was a start. A few days later I was driving home from work and pulled over with my notebook and pen, inspired to write and not willing to wait. It was a sloppy sketch of an idea, but it was something. It was a fierce scribble of words on the page; it was me not waiting. It was a rare moment of following my own advice: living in the now and actually doing exactly what I wanted to do.


With the possibility of pushing something off to someday, it can be hard to live now. And when the someday seems so real, so likely to happen, it can even be more tempting to make "I'll do it later" your catch phrase. But waiting is a risk. There might not be a someday. There might not be a tomorrow. Clouded in negativity as that sentence might sound, the truth of living now shines through like a silver lining. If there is something you're dreaming of -- something you want desperately to do -- don't wait for it. Do it now. Be in the now. Stop waiting. If you don't start now, you could end up looking back at a lifetime of somedays.




A special Happy Birthday shout-out to my mom, who is celebrating her birthday tomorrow. She's always been such an inspiration for me to live in the present and focus on the positive, and I'm so lucky to have her in my life. Happy birthday, Mom! I love you to the sky and back! 

Comments

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Oh....Dani you've done it again!!! Such great timing. This has been me for the past 4 years or so in relation to my photography. While I've done a few jobs here and there, I've been either too afraid to really put myself out there or just thinking that it will just happen when it 's supposed to and when I get more time..when I don't have to worry about this or that..when I have more money etc etc etc. One of my favorite photographers made a comment on an online seminar recently that - the quickest way to perfection is procrastination. Man if that didn't hit me. I want to have everything be right, but I won't really know what's right till you do it and see what's wrong. I've learned a few things along the way in my side jobs of photography, but I know there's bigger things to learn and to just do it. That's what I'm working on now...just getting something up so I can just do it..now...sink or swim. Thanks for the great post and kudos to you too!

I love everything you just said, I can relate to your situation. I'm always waiting for some time, time to do crafts, time to read, time to do everything I want to do. If I take that time and actually use it, even if it's not much at least it's something right? I was waiting for Easter to come to finally open my online shop, I'm waiting for the summer to go travel, sometimes spending all this time waiting is at the same time amazing (love all the planning, love the anticipation) but sometimes it's a downer (what if I can't make it?...). Just have to focus on the now which is not always easy for me but I'm working on that.

I think this is just what we all need to hear sometimes! Thanks :)

Saggleo - I'm so happy to hear that this post spoke to you! I've been fortunate to feel really inspired lately and it makes me happy that I can pass that along. It can be really hard to take a leap and just do something, but waiting really doesn't do any good. Good luck with putting yourself out there! I'm sure you will do it and be successful!

Cath - Thank you! It's good to know I'm not alone in feeling this way. Waiting can have it's upsides, but often we just use it as an excuse not to put ourselves out there and take risks. Living in the now is a hard thing to do, but it's so important when it comes to living a positively present life!

Molly - You're welcome! I'm glad I was able to share how I'm feeling and realize that I'm not the only one who feels this way.

> default to someday
It's so true that someday comes, but the beauty is you can chip away at the possibilities each day, here and now.

J.D. - That's a great way of putting it. We don't have to completely remove the idea of someday, but we should keep in mind that we can do a little bit every single day until that someday comes.

I wrote something very similar just yesterday

http://arrangedinlove.wordpress.com/2011/04/18/what-a-one-week-vacation-made-me-realize-launch-of-daily-posting/

Only difference was I have all the time yet I was still waiting for that someday. I went on vacation and it occurred to me that RIGHT NOW was that someday that I was hoping for! When I was working I was waiting exactly for life to be like this...and now when I had it I was still waiting..

No more. Thanks!

Arranged in Love - That's awesome! Thanks so much for sharing that with me. It's great to see someone else who is feeling inspired and who has decided that now is so much better than someday. As you said, the "someday" can be right now! So glad to hear that you're no longer waiting!

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