As human beings, we like comfort. We like the familiar. The well-trod path. Our comfort zone, no matter how uncomfortable.
We develop habits that line the walkways of our life like comfort food at a buffet. We don’t dare try the dish with the unpronounceable name. What if we don’t like it? What if it makes us sick?
And then, to keep ourselves feeling okay about our habitual paths, no matter how maladaptive, we tell ourselves it’s okay. “It’s safer this way,” we repeat again and again into the mirror. “It’s just the way I am. It’s just the way life is.”
And then, we play our cop-out card. “Someday.”
Someday, I’ll quit this job I hate and travel the world like I’ve always dreamt I would.
Someday, I’ll go back to school and finish that degree in art studies I started way back when.
Someday, I’ll stop…. [fill in the blank with a maladapted behaviour]. Drinking. Eating junk food. Hating myself. Having meaningless sex with strangers. Taking risks with my prsonal safety I secretly hope will kill me. Doing drugs. Lying. Cheating. Procrastinating.
Years ago, when I first started working at a homeless shelter, I started an art program. Every Thursday night and Saturday afternoon, I’d invite clients to come up to the 6th-floor multi-purpose room and share the quiet of the space and the joy of painting, writing, creating in silent communion with others (Plus! The view of the river valley below was spectacular!)
There was one man who sat at a table on the second floor common area, an island of perceived calm amidst the sea of 500 people who used the area on a daily basis. He would lay his paints on the table beside him, prop a pad of watercolour paper on his lap and create beautiful images of the world beyond the shelter while all around him the room buzzed and vibed with activity and commotion.
“Why don’t you come up to quiet of the multi-purpose room and paint with us,” I’d ask him every time I saw him painting.
“I’m not ready,” he’d reply. “Someday. Soon.”
Finally, after one more repeated, “Someday,” I asked him if he’d chosen a date when someday would come.
He shook his head. “No. Not yet.”
“Then why don’t you just make it today? Why not make today, someday.”
And he did and he went on to paint amazing works of art, to write music and songs and poems and to become a valued and integral member of the Possibilities Project, an art-based initiative I developed at the shelter that incorporated the full spectrum of the arts to provide clients, staff and volunteers an opportunity to explore their human condition and shared experiences through visual and performing arts.
Someday is now.
Someday isn’t in the future. It doesn’t have enough clarity and substance to last that long.
Someday is now.
If you’re struggling with holding on, with not letting go, with not giving up on something that just isn’t giving you peace of mind or joy or laughter and love, ask yourself, “Am I holding on for someday?” “Am I hoping for someday to fix my life, change my outlook, move my perspective?”
‘Cause if someday is on your calendar somewhere, anywhere, make it today that someday comes true. Make today your release from holding on to waiting, wishing and hoping for someday to come and set you free.
Thank you David Kanigan for the inspiration for this morning’s post!