When I was a kid I used to get in a lot of trouble if my mom assigned me a chore or something and I didn’t do it right away. “I’ll get around to it,” I’d say. My mom, always the smart ass, would go “There’s no such thing as a ‘round to it’ ” – get it? – and just like that I’d have to stop watching Doug or whatever and go wash those dishes. Maybe she just wanted me to get to the chores right away, but even still she was also teaching me an important life lesson about why we shouldn’t put things off. When you put things off, something always creeps in and gets in the way and nothing ever gets done. Doing the things we want is how we become our best selves.
A girlfriend of mine has long wanted to try scuba diving, so now she’s taking some diving classes so she can become a certified diver. I admire her for just going balls to the wall with it, because not everyone is willing to really go after the things they want. We say we know what we want, but we are always telling ourselves we’ll get to it “later.” You know, I’ve always wanted to take classes at The Second City or other scriptwriting classes. I’ve always wanted to go to Berlin, to start a band, to get a DJ turntable set-up and start getting DJ gigs, but all of those things just keep getting pushed back. I’ll do them “later,” I tell myself.
But when is “later,” exactly? When we tell ourselves, “I’ll get to it,” are we talking about tomorrow? Next week? A few months from now? Why do we put off doing the things we know will make us happy?
Sometimes it’s so easy to get looped into the boring life cycle of work-bills-sleep-eat-rinse-and-repeat that we forget we are supposed to be enjoying life, not acting like some cog in a machine. We tell our alarms to STFU when they go off and we roll out of bed to go work at jobs we don’t really like all that much, all for a modest paycheck and a company discount at Brooks Brothers. By the end of the work day we are so exhausted that all we want to do drink the pain away, or if not drink it away then totally drown it out with some other thing.
But that’s why it’s so important for you to enrich yourself by taking a break from the dull routines of life. It’s why you should take risks and do something fun and interesting – that thing you’ve always wanted to do that you keep putting off for “later.” Life is about potential, but to get there we have to get outside of what we already know. Taking the time to pursue your side interests is kind of like therapy, because you often discover a brand new side of yourself. It’s like whoa you have all these talents you didn’t even know were there. It’s a scary place to be, because it forces you to question if where you are in life is where you really want to be, and that’s one of the scariest questions you can ask yourself.