Wednesday, 4 June 2014

My Two Least Favourite Words

One day. (Or it’s variation – Someday.)

Two words that, in my opinion, should never be used together.

Yet, I hear it all the time. ‘One day I’d like to write a book’. ‘One day I’d like to visit Asia’. ‘One day I’d like to quit my job and do something I really love’. ‘One day I’ll tell that person I love them’.

A thousand dreams, a million plans for the future, all prefixed by the words ‘one day’. And I hate it. I hate it with a passion. And so should you.

Why? Because, to my mind, one of two things will happen.

Either, you’ll wake up, some distant version of yourself, and find that ‘one day’ has come and gone. That suddenly you are too old, or too in debt, or too tied down to ever do the things you dreamed of doing. Those old dreams have become submerged in a different life and different dreams. That’s not to say those new dreams are bad, but there will always be that tiny part of you that regrets the things you didn’t do. You will always wonder ‘what if’.

Or, worse, ‘some day’ will never come. The future, the plans, the dreams will disappear in the blink of an eye. You will be gone and the only thing left will be the regrets. There is no knowing how long we have in this world, and today may be the only day we have left. Depressingly sad maybe, but true.

And so the answer is this. Don’t say ‘one day’, say ‘today’. ‘Today I’m going to start writing that book’. ‘Today, I’m going to start saving for Asia’. ‘Today I’m going to look for a new job doing what I love’. ‘Today I’m going to tell him I love him.’

We only get one life. One chance. One opportunity to experience everything this crazy, incredible universe has to offer. (Now I feel like I’m stealing from a rap song). But it’s true. I sometimes think people don’t realise what an incredible blessing they have – just being alive. Life is crazy and wild and never turns out quite how we expect. But we have to take charge, we have to experience everything we can, whilst we still can.

Mark Twain says it better than I can – “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”

So my friends and family can take this as a warning. If you say ‘one day’ around me, expect my wrath. It will be terrible. Tell me your dreams and plans and aspirations by all means. But don’t tell me that maybe, perhaps, one day, sometime you might do these things. Tell me you’re striving for them, you’re working towards them. Tell me you’re putting every ounce of passion and intellect and heart you possess into achieving those goals.

Don’t tell me ‘one day’, tell me ‘today’.

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