I’ve been thinking a lot lately about that whole concept of “someday” and things you’d like to do. Mainly because I’ve seen a lot of these quotes posted on social media… and I’ve got a lot of distress about what I want to do “someday” and what I’m doing “today”.
“Never put off tomorrow what you can do today.”
“Don’t put off until tomorrow what you can do today.”
“Never leave that until tomorrow what you can do today.”
There are so many variants of this quote. Also, they’re attributed to Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, Mark Twain, George Gobel, and probably numerous other people who may have used the quote in a speech or casual conversation. There’s also a variant about procrastinating to later than tomorrow attributed to Twain.
“Only put off until tomorrow what you are willing to die having left undone.”
That version is attributed to Pablo Picasso. It reminds you that you will die, in case you forget.
“Excuses are for people who don’t want it bad enough.”
That version attempts to shame you into getting $#it done and I won’t be shamed into my “goals” by an internet graphic!
Here’s the thing… it’s good to have goals/dreams/ideas of things you’d like to do. I would like to:
- Run on trails more often
- Run an ultramarathon
- Sleep until I wake up naturally, slowly eat breakfast, exercise, shower leisurely, lounge with a book, and never cook again.
But it may not always be the right time to do those things. For example:
- My work day starts at 7 am, it’s hot all summer, I’m not comfortable exploring new trails in the dark when the weather is cooler… so more trail running is hard to fit in.
- I feel like ultramarathon success would take a support system. People that encourage you to get out the door to fit in long runs and who don’t mind if you are gone on training runs for hours at a time.
- I have a child and a full-time job… this won’t happen for a long time, if ever!
But these memes are passed around, trying to shame us into making hasty decisions and comparing our efforts against those of others. So I start to feel bad about myself that I can’t run hours on end like my friends who have older children and/or no jobs. I feel bad about myself when I see people posting about their loving spouse who says “You’re happier when you do this, go fit it in.” I feel bad about myself when people talk about their kids who sleep in and eat everything they cook.
Stepping back… I run enough to keep myself reasonably fit. I have run a lot of different race distances over the years and a lot of different race terrains. I have employees and colleagues who respect me and whom I genuinely enjoy being around. I have the flexibility to start working in my pajamas or sweaty running clothes if my child has a rough morning. There are positive things in my “today” life.
I’m not saying you shouldn’t go after dreams, but I think a lot of people are a little too hasty in decisions because they’re trying to keep up with the images they see presented on social media. And you know, sometimes you think you want to do something then realize later on that probably wasn’t so smart. (I’m guessing every butterfly tramp stamp falls into this category.)
Sometimes, you just need to find the right time to do things for you as an individual.
And if I never run an ultra before I die… I’m sure I will be okay with that. I’ll be dead, I kind of doubt that point will be filled with regret.
I totally hear you on this. I think sometimes people think every goal on their goal list has to be done in one year, but the reality is that the someday goals are really good to have and not complete for a long time. If I completed all of my someday goals this year, I think I would be done with life. Seriously. Patience is actually really good for some of my goals. It gives me long-term things to look forward to. My life is crazy and busy sometimes, but I’m also getting a lot done. And sometimes I don’t get anything done that’s worth noting, except for like showering. Every other part of my life might be in shambles, but that’s okay, too. There is a time and a season for everything. And there are times in my life when I totally have it together and other times where I can hardly do anything. I’m okay with these ups and downs.
Exactly! What are you supposed to look forward to if you accomplish it all at once? And like you said, there are days that I feel like I’ve accomplished a lot because I got a shower in when everything else is a mess!
I love this post! You are 100% right. If those goals are still important to you when you have more discretionary time, then you will accomplish them. I guess it is a sign of growing up when you realize that there are lots of great things to do with your life, but you don’t need to do them all today. What would you do tomorrow if you finished all of them today? P.S. I love you!
You’ve been a good example to me of accomplishing a lot but spreading it out across time. So… thanks! I love you too!
Thank you, Jill. I struggle with this daily. If it isn’t the “excuses…” BS, it’s me using the horrible word, “should”. “I should have ran today.” “I should spend more time with my daughter; she’s growing up so fast.” I have to keep reminding myself that I am doing the best I can with the circumstances I am given. Sometimes it just doesn’t work. A prime example, my Mom took my daughter last night for me while my hubby is out of town so I could get my house cleaned and have a “me night”. It’s now 40 minutes from when I need to leave to pick her up, I’m still in my pjs and the only cleaning I’ve accomplished is my daughter’s tub. Not what I had planned, but in the end I feel more relaxed and refreshed than I have in a long time. But that evil “should” lingers in my brain. It’s a constant battle. Thank you for the reminder, that maybe today isn’t the right time to do what I thought I should have done. That maybe today was the right time for something else.
Oh, I’m so glad you got something out of this. It can be hard with all the “shoulds” and the few days I have time to myself I always have the laundry list of things to do, only to realize I vastly overscheduled myself and make it worse! At least K has a clean tub… and a mother who adores her! You’re doing great things too, even if they feel like just barely keeping things status quo. ❤️
Hi Jill, pleased to e-meet you – just found your blog today, I love it. This is a really important message. Sometimes that to-do list can look long and daunting! Sometimes I fold that list in half and concentrate on one half at a time. I look forward to coming back to your blog and reading it soon, Enjoy your week!
I think that’s a great idea! It’s nice to e-meet you as well!
I find postponing running painful but on the other hand taking decisions and getting into races without thinking too much, might get me in trouble one day.
The weather was really cool this summer up here in Toronto so I cannot complain about being hot. It was the best year to get (back) into running. I took a family trip down south to Virginia Beach about a month ago and it was constantly over 100F – I hardly could squeeze into a couple of runs no longer than 5-6 miles. I just don’t know how people can run at all in those temperatures.
HI Jill. I was thinking of you so I am checking on your blog. Good job of keeping it up with your busy work, parenting, running, writing. You have accomplished so much but it’s totally ok not accomplish all or any goals. Sometimes goals = stress. Sometime, laziness = happiness. It is all about a good balance of work/family/happy hour with friends/workout/mental stimulation, etc. I am so much happy now when I get older as I’m striving for a good balance of everything.