“Someday” is Not a Plan

career creativity life goals productivity self-improvement Mar 06, 2019

Don’t Let “Someday” Run Out of Time

“Let yourself be silently drawn by the strange pull of what you really love. It will not lead you astray.”
~ Rumi

All was possible at the dawn of our lives. We popped into the world with a will to survive and the highest calling of the universe… to someday realize our fullest potential.

In the early weeks, we simply had needs. We learned how to convey those needs with a cry, a whimper, or a smile.

As our minds evolved, our creative capacity grew. Ask any child to improvise a story, and you’ll see imagination come alive.

We began projecting our fantasies into the future. We started saying, someday, I want to… As children, we had no doubts. We play-acted, we dreamed, and “someday” appeared as an achievable reality.

As real-life sets in, we begin working at the job we trained for in school… or not. There are bills to pay, families started, and obligations that rob us of time to dream. Someday quickly pass us by and about the age of 40 we wonder, is that all there is?

What happened to those dreams of someday?

“Someday describes an indefinite future time.” -Grammarist.com

Indefinite is the critical word here. When did you think someday might happen? Were you on the road to the goal when your dream was sideswiped and knocked off course?

The truth is those dreams of someday are still inside of you. They might even gnaw at you occasionally, but then your fear buries them again and again.

But your hopes and dreams are there, and you’re just getting started because every day is a new beginning as the sun rises.

You might no longer want to be a doctor, but maybe your love of health care has never left your heart’s desire. Perhaps your dream of being an actress has transitioned into a desire to write plays. Or maybe your hope of running your own business someday is a desire that’s been on your mind since the economic crash in 2008.

What you do next is critical.
Keep going… you’ve written your story so far. Your reactions to your life circumstances are what shaped you. Remember, you’ve created your script, act by act, ever since you were a child. But it’s not over. You still have a chance to revisit your past and discover what makes you come alive.

Then get started.

Writer Annie Lamott asks, How alive am I willing to be? That’s the perfect question to begin the exploration.

How alive am I willing to be?
Your dreams are still possible. They might not be the dreams of your youth, but they can come alive in different forms that intersect who you are today, and what you’ve accomplished and learned from the life you’ve already lived.

Discover your strengths within your history like this:
Do a 10-minute exercise with a paper and pencil. List everything that stands out in your life from the moment you had a conscious thought. Overwhelming? Not really.

The photo here is my timeline. It took me exactly ten minutes. It’s the memorable points of my life, the good and the bad.

Now explore the role of your backstory.

In television and movie scripts, the character’s past is a quiet backstory. It’s not written into the script, but the writer, actor, and director secretly create a history to bring the present character to life.

Your personal backstory is what made you who you are and is the reason you see things as you do. Without a past, we have no foundation for the future.

"Mental creation always precedes physical creation." -Dr. Stephen R. Covey

Life is not always legible while we’re living it, but looking back is the perception that could change your life at this very moment.

I’m pretty certain, like most people, you don’t appreciate yourself enough.
Psychologists have long used the tool of a “life review’” as the key to understanding who you are. But, what if you could use your timeline to see the evolution of you. More importantly, what if you could look at the events of your life in two ways, positive and negative.

When you look at your timeline, can you find the years in your life when you mentally created the “character” of you? You used to feel so brave and strong, so invincible. When did it change? Can you discover the incidents that hijacked your goals?

Not everything is clearly positive or negative.

“Real life is not always going to be perfect or go our way, but the recurring acknowledgment of what is working in our lives can help us not only to survive but surmount our difficulties.“Sarah Ban Breathnach, author

It’s an illusion that you’re stuck with the consequences of the life you’ve had. It’s the past. As hard as you try to hold onto it, every second erodes the power of your history. The only thing holding on so tightly is your beliefs about yourself and your willingness to not give it free rent in your head anymore.

You are that invincible superhero, that courageous entrepreneur, that gifted writer…

Your wounds either heal by choice, or they fester. Conscious awareness of those wounds builds the bridge to resilience. The wound leaves a scar, no doubt, but it serves as a symbol of your strength.

Now is the time to form a collaboration with your past.
Looking at your timeline will challenge you to think differently about what you’ve already lived. The beliefs you’ve held onto about specific events may not be the whole story. Within days of writing down your life events, you’ll become more aware of how your past and your thoughts created you.

Is there something in your timeline that glares at you? Is it taunting you to revisit a past desire?

Watch out for confidence killers.
Because of doing your timeline, you are now aware of your thoughts. Your negative thoughts will pop up, but you’ll be mindful of them. They are confidence killers. Push them away. Replace them with a strong affirmation of your ability to survive.

I can look at my own timeline and clearly see the domino effect. I loved being on stage at an early age… so much so, I left home at 16 and toured the world with a musical show. That stage was my platform, the foundation for finding my voice, and I’m not referring to my ability to sing, but my ability to connect with people.

I married a man who had the desire to be a writer. Together we created a successful career in the entertainment business. But, I’d never written on my own until after my daughter was born with a bilateral cleft. I wrote books, and articles, and spoke all over the United States, helping other parents and children with facial abnormalities.

Then my son died suddenly, and I didn’t think life could possibly recover. How could I ever find joy again? But I did, and much of it came through writing.

And this is where I define the positive and negative within my timeline.
Is there anything positive about my son dying… you wouldn’t think it possible. But my son’s life left me with a choice, to survive or not. I had to look at the gift of having him for 16 years, 3 months, and 10 days. I wouldn’t trade it for the world.

I chose to resurrect my life with a strong desire to help other parents by writing about it. (my book, How to Survive the Worst that Can Happen, a parent’s step by step guide to healing after the loss of a child.)

I use writing to create my legacy; it is ongoing until the day I die. I choose to make a difference, and I’m filled with joy because I’m doing exactly what I should be doing.

Maybe it’s time to pick up that pen, or camera, or paintbrush. Is it time to draft a business plan for your bakery or landscape business?

Do you want to travel? Maybe create a travel and tour business. Do you want to sing? Then sing. Do you want to play an instrument… start taking lessons.

One of my dearest friends always wanted to play the violin. She picked up the instrument in her 50’s. Everyone said, “it’s too hard to learn an instrument when you’re ‘old’.” But, within two years she had a chair with the Santa Barbara Orchestra.

Ban the words “too old.”
I have entirely banned the words “too old” from my vocabulary. And you should too.

My hero is Louise Hay. She started her business at the age of 60 when she sold her first self-published book, You Can Heal Your Life, out of the trunk of her car. It was just the beginning of her publishing house, Hay House.

Even at 90, Louise ran the company, attending all the conferences, doing interviews, and publishing new authors. She is a fearless leader of one of the most life-changing publishing empires in the world.

She could have procrastinated and quickly pushed off her heart’s desire by saying, Someday I’d like to write a book. Instead, she wrote it, published it, and went on to have a remarkable legacy in the personal development business.

Now it’s your turn.
Your “somedays” still have validity. Now is not the time to wind down. You’re not done yet. That feeling of restlessness is waking you up. You still have dreams! You may not see the vision as you once did, but you can do a resurrection of that goal and shape it to work with your life today.

It’s all there, hidden inside the story of you.

What is the myth of “someday?”
Every one of us has the life we dreamed of and the life we’ve lived. That’s the paradox of “someday.” It’s indefinite and doesn’t exist unless you engage it. It can be a procrastination crutch you use your whole life, until “someday” simply runs out of time.

You’re ready to change that now. Unlock the power of “someday” by identifying those things you still hope to do and making a commitment to your someday beginning today.

Thanks for reading! If you’ve got creativity on your mind… I have a complimentary sample for you. A short ebook on how to establish some simple habits to set your creativity on fire: How to Develop the Creative Mindset.

**Previously published on Medium**