To me, these two seemingly innocuous words, “some” and “day,” when put together are the most empty and depressing seven letters in our language.
They are a synonym for “never” and “ain’t going to happen.” They are the lie we tell ourselves for a dream that we will never ever, in our lifetime, accomplish. It is belied in the tone of voice — faithless and empty — this combo of words usually parenthesized by a pair of audible sighs.
Sigh, “Someday I’m going to …” Sigh.
Once again we have deceived and cheated ourselves. Whatever happened to carpe diem? Seize the day? Yesterday I was reminded again of the danger of someday.
I flew from Chicago to Seattle on a late afternoon flight. It was a short flight for a world traveler, just a little more than four hours. It wasn’t the most pleasant flight. A passenger was ill and had to lay down in the rear of the plane forcing everyone to use the one bathroom up front.
There was quite a bit of turbulence, and the lady next to me had her purse, laptop bag and half her butt in my seat most of the flight. But no bother, I put on my headphones and edited underwater footage, reliving scuba dives through moving images.
But at some point, I began chatting with that woman as I kindly handed her back her purse and laptop bag (she would have to take back her butt on her own). She asked several times for the time on my watch and admitted it was seemingly the longest four hours of her life.
So I inquired. She had never been on a flight more than two hours. And in fact, it was her first time off the East Coast. I was stunned by this admission. I took her to be about 40 years old, and here she was flying over the Rockies for only the first time.
The Dream of Someday
She could have used a little travel advice. She was a large lady in the middle seat on a night flight, which didn’t allow her to see the beautiful country she was witnessing for the first time. She wasn’t sitting in the same row as her friend, and she had wandered around DFW airport for almost two hours trying to find her connecting gate.
But as our conversation progressed, she told me her dream of someday flying to Scotland. That word told me all I needed to hear, and I sadly thought it was a mirage in her life, but I gave it a go.
I became animated as I do when someone tells me about a dream. I began to form a plan to mold her dream into something imaginable and reachable. I desperately wanted to show her that it WAS possible and help her see the way.
I asked what was keeping her back and received the inevitable response: money. Then she recounted a very sad, yet too often told, story. Her mother had been saving and saving to take them to Scotland to see the relatives. Mom had recently died before that dream was fulfilled.
I wanted to take the woman by her shoulders and say: “DON’T YOU GET IT? That’s the whole point. If you really truly want the dream, go now! Figure out a way. I’ll HELP you figure out a way.”
Otherwise someday will never arrive as it never did for her Mom.
Excitement in Making it Happen
My gray matter started spinning like a whirling dervish. I first encouraged her with what she had going for her.
- One, she already had places to stay, since she had a gazillion relatives there.
- Two, she was already on the East Coast, so it was an easy hop and pretty cheap.
“Now, let’s talk about how to get your free flight,” I explained to her with drool coming out of my mouth.
I talked about using her credit card for accumulating miles, for getting new cards with sign up bonuses. I encouraged her to pay for things for her friends on her card and having them pay her back. I waxed poetically about mileage malls and reward cards.
I was getting excited about her trip and was already vicariously halfway across the Atlantic when I looked back and saw she was still sitting on the shore — on the East Coast. She simply couldn’t make the jump.
Did she not want the dream enough? Was it fear? What kept her from spreading her wings and going after that dream? I don’t know. It’s something I see and hear over and over. My heart dropped a few inches in my chest.
Defeat Before the Battle
And when she smiled a sad little smile again and said, “Yeah, someday,” I realized it was never going to happen for her — that Seattle might just be the farthest she ever made it from North Carolina.
The look of defeat before the battle had even started was in her eyes and in her posture. Scotland was just a bagpipe dream.
I don’t know how exactly to help people make the step from “someday” to dream fulfillment, to believe in themselves and their dreams, to grab life by the horns and take the ride.
Perhaps it’s simply too big a leap. But I’m going to keep looking for that bridge, because once it’s crossed, anything is possible and life becomes a wondrous journey.
Challenge yourself in the next 30 days. Pick one of your “somedays” and take the first steps to making it happen.
Make someday TODAY, because as I look at a calendar and see Monday and Tuesday, week after week, year after year, I don’t find Someday anywhere. It’s not early on Wednesday morning or wedged in between Saturday or Sunday.
“Someday” is only a figment of your imagination. Only you can turn it into today. Carpe diem!
What will you make happen when you seize the day?
By Carin Kiphart