Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Someday Syndrome

Eleven years ago my life changed forever.  It was a hot, sticky August day. I got up before everyone else and organized everything for a family get together. All the time I was packing the cooler and bagging up swim suits and all the odds and sods mothers have to remember to bring I was rubbing my chest and flexing my left hand. My husband left for work and I got the kids up. The rest is a bit of a blur but I know my daughter forced me to take aspirins because she had seen a public service announcement about heart attacks and strokes and knew to do that. She called her father and told him to come home from work and I told him to take me to the doctors office because I thought I was having a panic attack. The doctor called an ambulance which is what we should have done. The clock was ticking and we had been wasting precious treatment minutes. I made so many mistakes that day but I survived. There are a number of takeaways from this:

1. Let your kids watch MTV (or whatever the equivalent is today). It might save your life in some way you could never imagine. It likely saved mine because my daughter knew to give me aspirins.

2. Call an ambulance. The time you waste may be your last minutes on earth. I was lucky, very lucky, and remember, I had those aspirins forced into me.

3. You likely suffer from Someday Syndrome and you need to do something about it.

This is what I really want to talk about,  Someday Syndrome. I meet people suffering from it all the time. They say "Someday I want to....." or "Someday I'm going to..." or "When I have time someday I am planning..." It became very clear to me that August day that someday might not exist. Yes I still do my fair share of the mundane everyday stuff like cooking and grocery shopping but I am vigilant about carving out time for the things I want to do like art and writing and travel. I fall off the programme from time to time when there is a family crisis or I have over committed but I catch myself and redirect. I'm not saying it is easy.

What I have learned to do is pay attention to my internal chatter and my own conversations with other people. I have become hyper aware of the word someday and every time I use it I take a mental note. This winter I found myself commenting on a Facebook post about a lettering class that Carol Dubosch (http://www.caroldubosch.com/) was teaching. The style of writing is called Bone and for many years I have wanted to learn how to do it. I've tried on my own but never managed to figure out the nuances of the waisting (the skinny parts in the downstrokes of the letters). I found myself saying "Someday..." and then I thought, "No. Soon." And I started to make a plan. Luckily Carol agreed to sit down with me on our half day off at the calligraphy conference in Dallas. I love teaching at these conferences but the flip side of the coin is that I see everyone being creative and learning and I miss doing that too. But this year Carol let me have the best of both worlds and I had the benefit of her one-on-one tutoring. Watching her manipulate the pen was so instructional and it made all the difference. I've been practicing almost daily since the conference and am really happy with the progress I've made.

 Anne Lamott is one of my favourite authors. She really tells it like it is and doesn't hold back. She has said:
“Oh my God, what if you wake up some day, and you’re 65, or 75, and you never got your memoir or your novel written; or you didn’t go swimming in warm pools and oceans all those years because your thighs were jiggly and you had a nice big comfortable tummy; or you were just so strung out on perfectionism and people pleasing that you forgot to have a big juicy creative life, of imagination and radical silliness and staring off into space when you were a kid?  It’s going to break your heart. Don’t let this happen.”

So what is on your Someday List? Choose one thing, even a small thing, and tackle it today. Make a plan and put it in motion. Post it here if that will help you stay accountable. Don't wait until it is too late. Do your bit to wipe out Someday Syndrome.


  1. Lovely blog. Someday syndrome is alive and well for so many people! Good for you, for recognizing it and changing it to TODAY!
    When my daughter was little she got frustrated with me and said she didn't want to live in the "maybe later" house.....because that was my standard answer for so many things, from that point forward I tried to make our house the today house.....whenever I could.

  2. Thank you, Cheryl. For this post, for starting this blog, for the previous 2 posts and all the posts to come. Thank you, and I look forward to reading more.

  3. Thank you for sharing your experiences. Your calligraphy is just wonderful. I say "Someday" too often. Will think of something soon and put a plan in action.

  4. That is a beautiful script. I think I've seen it around. Your examples certainly show some mastery of it!

  5. Thanks for your very true words and blog, Cherryl, and to Carol for inspiring you!

  6. Thanks so much for your words Cheryl! I am a nervous wreck since I decided to quit my non-rewarding job of 26 years this coming December to finally pursue my dream, Calligraphy. Is refreshing to hear this because self-doubt is so good at creeping in. Looking forward to meeting Carol at Cheerio in October!

  7. Thank you so much for this! Mine has been the offspring of "Someday". It has been "As soon as" (this or that obligation is met, I will...) No more. I'm so DONE WITH THAT and your post has given me a power smile while I practice the moves for stomping on guilt which will surely arise ... but I'll have practiced for its arrival. I'll be ready.

  8. Certainly very powerful for me. Given my own situation, I really ought to carpe more diems


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