Making a decision about one day

getting my head out of the clouds.... photo by Jill E. Williams

A recent assignment has had me thinking about aging- specifically about our fear of aging.  As I was brainstorming and pondering what it is we’re scared of (what I’m scared of), it occured to me that my biggest fear is that of running out of time.

Running out of time.  It’s probably not just my fear.  What if we get to that set age we had in mind for marriage/ partnering, children, this career, that adventure, and it hasn’t happened yet?  What then?  Does it mean that time got the better of us, that we somehow lost?

I’d like to think that isn’t at all what it means- that instead, in most cases, it means that our partner isn’t yet ready for us (or us for our partner) or our child isn’t yet ready for us (or us for our child), etc.  And so, sometimes, life doesn’t unfold in the timing we thought that it might because we’re not yet ready for it.  But, sometimes, there is something else at play.

Sometimes, life hasn’t happened in the way we thought it might because we’ve been too busy saying “one day, I’ll get to that.”  And here’s the funniest thing about one day.  Talking about it doesn’t make it happen.  Dreaming of it doesn’t make it happen. The only thing that makes One Day become today is these three little words: I have decided.  

Think about it.

One day, I’m going to have a vegetable garden is an idea.  Researching when and how those veggies need to be planted and then deciding to get them all into the ground is the realization of the dream.

One day, I’ll start painting.  Deciding to allow yourself thirty minutes to paint today is the dream realized.

One day, I’ll write that novel.  Opening the Word document and pounding out the words is the manifestation.

I have “One Day”ed all sorts of things in the past, but I’ve also decided a few good things.  Probably the very best decisions I’ve made came about in moments of I have decided impulsiveness.  Becoming a mother? Decided in about 15 seconds.  Leaving a gig without a next job?  Collected evidence over one week of some things I wasn’t comfortable with being associated with and walked.  Deciding to go for it as a writer? 10 minute conversation with BF where he said, “This is as cheap as our life’s getting, might as well go for it now before we have other mouths to feed” (that conversation had become a bit of a party line in our house as I’d said the same thing to him about 18 months earlier when he wanted to take a proverbial leap of faith professionally).  Becoming a part-time professor?  A quick yes after a lovely invitation.  Starting Circle de Luz?  Finding a team that thought it was the right way to go and were willing to have decided with me made it so easy (though it’s been incredible work for all of us) to move forward. 

But there are still One Days out there for me, and probably for you, too.  Even though I have experience with “I have decided” working out, I still sometimes hesitate in the face of putting something into motion.  Sometimes, we hesitate about our One Days because we fear that we aren’t up for the challenge. Even more times, though, we hestiate about our One Days because we secretly know that we are up for the challenge and our One Day has the possibility of changing everything and we fear that change.  What will it do to us to no longer be a teacher but instead be a writer?  What will it do to us to become a marathoner or a triathlete or business owner?  Can we handle everything that comes with it?   

The most pressing One Days in front of me aren’t enormous in the grand scope of things, but they are enormous to me…

There’s been an unfinished novel on my computer for five years now.  In five years, I’ve changed, and I’d write a completely different novel today and, yet, I think I should finish this one for the experience, to know what happens to these characters whom I really like, to not leave a job undone.  And, yet, I haven’t decided to finish it yet, even though I’d like to do so. 

I love painting.  I want to do more of it.  And yet all my paints and canvases have been in the attic since Happy came home. 

Every year on my birthday list, I write that I’d like to be able to run for an hour.  I don’t ever push myself to get past the thirty minute mark.

Cleaning out my parents’ attic has also been on the birthday list, perhaps since the inception of the birthday list.  The spirit is willing, the flesh is weak. 

I love doing workshops and retreats with women.  There is something about creating authentic space for all of us to explore, discover, and grow that just fires me up.  I’d like that to be a central part of the work I do.  I keep talking about it.  At some point, I have to decide to do it. 

Those are just some of my one days, and I know the clock is ticking.  This year, I’d like to talk less about one day and more about decisions.  Tomorrow, I’ll talk a little bit about knowing whether or not the one day is really what we want or if it is the idea of the one day that captures us.  Considering that, for me, is the key to knowing whether or not my one day should be made real or not.      

In the meantime, what are your One Days?  How close are you to deciding whether or not your one day is today or some other day?  Do you know if your One Days are real wishes or not?  What do you have to lose by exploring your One Day?

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One response to “Making a decision about one day”

  1. How I figured out what I wanted to be when I grew up | Rosie Molinary

    […] And so I started teaching high school in the inner-city (and coaching and directing student activities), and I LOVED it.  It may be my favorite thing I’ve ever done.  But I quickly realized how much I wanted my students to be accessing their voices and receptive to others’ voices, and I felt like I needed more education to do that.  And the education I specifically wanted was a Masters in Fine Arts in creative writing because I knew that writing was the tool I could use to help people access their voices.  It was the tool that was right for me as an educator.  I went to graduate school to learn how to be a better teacher but, of course, while I was there I had to write a book.  I went in to grad school as a poet.  My first advisor challenged me to write long form instead (turns out, my poems didn’t resonate with him so much).  That conversation is here.     And so I ultimately wrote my thesis (which is basically a book length work) as a linked essay and poetry memoir about my coming of age experiences called Giving Up Beauty.  I had no idea that body image, beauty perception, and ethnic identity issues were so on my mind until I wrote those pieces (I love the saying that you should write to discover what you know deep within.  It was true for me in grad school and is true for why I incorporate writing into the work I do with others).  Before I started graduate school, I always thought that I would go back to teaching high school after I was done.  But once I was in graduate school, I realized some things: I liked not having to be at work at 6 am (high school started at 7:15 and I liked a good thirty minutes of quiet in my classroom before kids started streaming in), I could go to the bathroom whenever I wanted, actually make and go to a doctor’s appointment, and could even go out to lunch.  The grad school years, truth be told, made me soft. I couldn’t go back to teaching high school now that I knew how the other side lived.  So, instead, I worked at a college as the director of a community service program.  My work focused on how we as an institution and individuals engaged in our community and since that is an intergral part of my personal focus, it was a good and meaningful fit.  I loved working with my college students.  I could have been there for years.  But, then, the way a situation was handled left me uncomfortable, and I couldn’t stay.  I thought that I’d find a job in non-profits but then BF encouraged me to pursue writing.  […]

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