all of the selves we Have ever been
Pencil Me In
The sun might come up tomorrow,
but I’m not betting my bottom dollar on it.
I’ll call it a maybe and pencil it in. If tomorrow does come, I’m booked. And that goes for next year and someday too.
There’s a lot on my schedule--a lifetime of appointments that I put off until tomorrow. Sometimes my delay tactics reflected a lack of time or resources, sometimes dread or fear. My recipe for procrastination was perfected with some added doubt and a mega dose of the most dangerous risk factor of all—“I don’t feel like it.”
I wish I had kept the list, but tomorrow’s calendar grew too many pages. I would like to go back and take a look at yesterday’s tomorrow to-do list. How many things didn’t matter? How many did? Which day was the today that my ship sailed without me? And which was the day it came in? Which was the day that by waiting for tomorrow, turned out to be my lucky day—a life changing day? Would the fortunate days balance all of the missed opportunities? What was the special calculus I should have applied when choosing what to defer until tomorrow?
When we were children, it seemed like tomorrow would never come. My siblings and I would whine about the daily calamities. We could not wait for tomorrow when we would be grown up and boredom, rules, chores, and bedtimes would be erased right along with the homework. As we carried on about the latest injustice of youth, our mother would say, “Don’t wish your life away.” Of course, that was easy for her to say, she could stay up past nine o’clock. Didn’t she understand that while we were chained to our bunk beds before the sun went down, men were walking on the moon? There were new horizons. We needed to get moving and fast. We summoned the heavens for favor: “Liberate us from today.”
And then the sky did become the limit. We had grand plans as teens and young adults. The sky turned out to be a big place with no road signs. We didn’t always know the way, but we could do what we wanted. About middle age, we began to realize that we might have been better off had we retained a more experienced driver. We missed a lot of turns and ran red lights. We drifted into oncoming traffic. But we lived to tell about it. Constant demands shielded us from regret.
And then somewhere along the way to growing old, tomorrow lost its urgency. Our hair grew thin from being blown back. Our teeth needed caps after all the worry we chewed on. Rotator cuffs gave out from shouldering the weight, and our knees buckled and ached from running marathons. I find that I prefer to stroll now. It’s back to early bedtimes, and it seems like a new day is here before I’ve closed my eyes.
Tomorrow is the day when all of the forces will align. It is the day we will understand everything and come prepared. Tomorrow is the day we can write our list in permanent marker.
I think that is called heaven.
I pencil it in.
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