When speaking to small groups, I often give a personal history quiz. It’s a fun exercise, each question introducing an aspect of personal history in a context the audience rarely has thought about. Here’s one of my favorite questions:
Question: Pick where you can find “Someday” on your planner:
a. between Tuesday and Wednesday
b. the fifth Friday in February
c. on the eve of the eternal eclipse in the house of the dog
d. somewhere between the dawn of creation and the fifth of never
The point of this exercise is that someday doesn’t really exist. It’s an answer we often use when we don’t want to commit. “I’ll get to it someday” is an excuse often heard by personal historians. We also hear a lot of “I wish I would have written down some of those stories before he/she died,” often by people who were going to get around to it someday.
I’ve thought about someday a lot in the past few days as my own family members have rallied to the bedside of a seriously ill loved one. As sad as these occasions are, they reinforce the value of family ties and remind us of the uncertainty of our earthly existence. They also expose the myth of that illusory someday.
Nora Dunn at Wise Bread has written about this topic. Although she substitutes “tomorrow” for “someday,” her post emphasizes that if you want to make sure something gets done, you’d better start today instead of waiting.