By: Kris Gage
Photo: Artist Pantónio
Sometimes when we see what other people are building — small businesses, startups, websites, housing developments, whiskey brands, etc. — we think to ourselves, “huh, I could maybe do that someday.”
(And, sure. Whatever — maybe we could. But that’s not the point of this post.)
The point is: in most cases, we haven’t.
We’d rather sit around and think about “someday,” separating ourselves from it with a whole slew of excuses.
“I need more experience. More money. More time. More books. The right idea” — whatever.
We all do this. We put huge blocks of our lives into “someday.” And sure, some of it belongs there — “someday” we’ll be older, and “someday” college students will have jobs, and maybe “someday” we’ll get married and/or have kids and shit. Those things don’t need to be rushed (until, of course, they need to be rushed — but that’s a different post.)
But sometimes we talk about “someday” regarding things that could just as easily be “today.”
And eventually we start to realize that the sliver of “someday” actually gets smaller; our window to do it gets slimmer, the box of “excuses” and handwritten “IOUs” we have tucked away in our mental closet becoming increasingly less likely to pay us out.
And eventually you round that turn and start to see there’s a home stretch; you’re staring down the barrel and there’s an end to “forever,” and if you haven’t done it by now, by god, you may never do it.
This isn’t meant to be depressing.
On the contrary: it’s meant to light a light in your life; to take something from imaginary to real; to bring it forth in your own life and make it yours.
Because. It. Is.
In the words of “Richard from Texas” from Eat, Pray, Love:
“You know, if you could, ugh, clear out all that space in your mind that you’re using to obsess over this… you’d have a vacuum with a doorway. And you know what the universe would do with that doorway? BOO — rush in!”
Creativity Love Constraints
And “just doing it” loves it, too.
I’ve been in software for most of my career, and some of the most brilliant and best builders — developers, engineers, mechanics, crafters and doers — I’ve ever had the pleasure of working with love working with constraints.
You’d think that they would jump at the opportunity to “build whatever you want,” but in reality a lot of them have day jobs in part (and in addition to many other benefits, I’m sure!) so that someone else can give them a good constraint.
As Marissa Mayer famously said over ten years ago,
“Creativity loves constraint… this sounds really counterintuitive, because when you think about creativity, you think about… having a lot of freedom to do whatever you want… a lot of times when you constrain your thoughts, that’s when you ultimately see a lot of innovation happen.”
Constraints can be defined in a lot of ways — good ones are defined in part as high-level pain points (problems to solve.)
And the three most popular constraints are: cost, quality and time.
The one that’s most real, of those three, and applies to absolutely everyone on earth, regardless of resources, is time.
Use time. Make it a constraint.
And if nothing else, take advantage of the constraint time presses upon you as it passes.
To live in “someday” is to avoid today
Living in “someday” is just another kind of escapism.
We’re just escaping the moment in other ways — rather than substances, for example, we indulge in fantasies.
This is even true for “realistic” ones.
I sometimes hop on personal finance forums and subreddits, where the overarching goal is fiscal responsibility and, in most cases, retiring early. Name of the game is saving right now to enjoy it tomorrow, and many regulars on the site swap tips on how to save more, cut back, reduce, do without.
But even in these groups, there is also an overarching warning against taking it too far. Against putting your entire life in the future and holding off on any kind of enjoyment until you’re no longer able, and running the risk of missing your life — or enjoying it in the end, if you die early— altogether.
Do it now.
May you be so fortunate to not “someday”
May you realize “someday” is never.
May you be so fortunate to stop living in a phantom time frame.
May you stop your servitude to “forever.”
There is no “someday.”
“Someday” is only right the fuck now. And because I know that’s confusing — it leaves a lot of us grabbing for another mint in the bowl, like,
“What the hell are you talking about?! There literally is a tomorrow!”
But the problem isn’t that there won’t be a literal tomorrow — I know there will be; that’s not the problem. The problem is, in fact, that there will be.
And the problem is that we don’t mean the literal tomorrow; we mean a fuzzy, ambiguous one, a “forever” tomorrow that doesn’t exist. And yeah, we’re gonna have a slew of “tomorrows,” but someday our “somedays” will run out.The problem is our mindset — our flippant regard of our lives; our casual compartmentalization of them into far-off, future places that don’t exist.
Make “someday” right now
Do it. Right now.
Whatever that thing is, either do the thing or stop talking about it. Because continuing to talk about it without taking steps is just living with our heads up our asses.
Because “someday” isn’t the time to play out your values. And once you have some security for the future, it’s important to understand what you want most, and spend your most valuable resources — time, money — accordingly.