“Someday, my ship will come in”

If you want your future to be different from your present, that change needs to start today, not someday. Are you making those changes or just sitting there thinking about how great it would be?

Illustration by Chris Ware / Lexington Herald-Leader / Newscom / File
Are you dreaming of your future or building it? The only road to someday is through today.

On page 227 of my book, I recount a short tale of a woman dreaming a negative dream:

“Someday, things will change for me and my ship will come in,” Helen said.

Helen and I had each just gone through a trial by fire at our respective new jobs. Since we were old friends from our college days, we agreed to eat lunch together and effectively allow each other to vent about the difficult and sometimes seemingly unfair challenges we faced.

When I heard Helen talk about her ship coming in, though, I had a strange feeling inside of me. If she keeps sitting there by the dock waiting, her ship will never come in. If she’s genuinely unhappy with things to the point that she’s pinning her hopes on an unforeseen windfall, she’s doing nothing more than ensuring the continuation of her own misery.

In Helen’s comment, I saw myself. It scared me, and it made me want to start something new.

There was a long period in my life where I pretty much bet everything on my “future self.”

Someday, things would be better than they were right now, but for now, I’ll keep following the same old routine.

Someday, I would have the money to pay off all of these debts, but for now, I’ll keep spending.

Someday, I’ll be a writer, but for now, I’ll keep spending my evenings watching television and playing games.

Someday, we’ll have a house, but for now, I’ll buy myself another pile of books and a new gadget, too.

Guess what? “Someday” was never going to happen.

Every action that I took wasn’t merely a fun choice in the moment. Each of those actions had the terrible side effect of making “someday” less and less possible.

Every time I bought myself a pile of books or a gadget, I threw away some of that house down payment.

Every evening I spent watching television and playing video games, my writing skills grew weaker and the opportunity to follow my dreams grew fainter.

Every time I spent money on something I didn’t really need, I made it harder for myself to pierce through the mountain of debt that I was accumulating.

Every time I stuck to the same old routine, I gave up another day in my life that I could be working to build a new one.

If you want things to be different in your life in the future, that change needs to start today, not someday. Every hour you spend aimlessly takes you further away from that goal. Every dollar you burn on something to “relieve the stress” just ensures that you’ll be stuck with more stress in your life. Every day you spend just going through the motions and daydreaming about something better is a day you’ve spent postponing that dream.

The only road to someday is through today. Are you taking that road or are you just sitting there thinking about how great it would be?

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