I remember waiting for someday.
I remember many times in my life when I went through The Someday Syndrome, waiting for something that felt like it would never arrive.
If you think back, I’m sure you can remember, too.
- Those early-teen years, when you couldn’t wait to be able to drive.
- Those years as a broke college kid, when you couldn’t wait to make some money.
- Those early twenties, when you couldn’t wait to find the partner of your dreams.
- Those final years of work, when you couldn’t wait to retire.
We’ve all had periods where we’ve experienced The Someday Syndrome. Those periods of life when you just couldn’t wait for something to arrive. A someday that felt like it would never get here. An obsession with a future date that runs the risk of distracting from the joy of the present.
Chances are, some of you reading this post are waiting for the someday when you’ll finally be able to retire. Waiting for that freedom to do whatever you want to do, whenever you want to do it.
Waiting for someday.
My “Retirement Someday” arrived four years ago, and I can’t help but think back now that I’m on the other side of that experience with The Someday Syndrome. What have I learned about the syndrome, and what advice would I give to those who are still waiting for that someday that feels like it will never arrive?
Today, my thoughts from the other side of The Someday Syndrome…How to break The Someday Syndrome, that period of waiting forever for a day that feels like it will never arrive. Click To Tweet
The Someday Syndrome
Life is a terrible thing to waste.
And yet, many of us waste away some of the best years of our life waiting for a someday we hope will arrive. A day that, in reality, may NOT arrive. It seems a waste to spend life waiting through days that ARE happening while hoping for a day that isn’t guaranteed.
I remember those final 3 years of work, when it felt like retirement would never arrive. I remember how slowly that time would pass, just waiting for those numbers to work. Running those retirement calculators, again and again, knowing that the date was the date, and I just needed to wait.
I hate waiting.
Now that my retirement someday has come and gone, I realize I likely sub-optimized 3 years of my life while enduring The Someday Syndrome. My life wasn’t terrible, but it was focused on a future day instead of embracing each day I’d been given. I don’t make that mistake anymore and seek an opportunity to savor every day.
I think of all of the younger folks pursuing FIRE, and encourage all of them to think about bringing some balance into their lives. Sure, early retirement is great, but it’s not worth sacrificing 10-15 years of your life in a desperate wait for someday to arrive. Maybe it makes sense to cut back that savings rate, just a bit, and enjoy the life you’re living today. As I mentioned in #5 of 20 Ways To Be Happier In Life, focus on finding balance. A wheel always rolls better when the spokes are the same length.
As I thought about the lessons I’ve learned from the other side of The Someday Syndrome, a few additional thoughts came to mind. Apply those that intrigue you, ignore those that don’t:
Regardless of that someday you’re waiting for, find a way to enjoy the Present. Focus on what you literally have in front of you, now. Enjoy your time with your children, they’ll be out of the home soon and you’ll regret not giving them every minute you could when you had the opportunity. If you’re fortunate to have parents who are still living, schedule some time to go home and tell them you love them, While You Still Can. Take a break from the worry in your life, and treat your spouse to a nice meal out at your favorite restaurant.
Quit focusing so much on the future, and find something about your “today” that brings you joy.
As I mentioned earlier, find a way to balance your future dreams with your present reality. Work toward finding a balance between the two. Perhaps you can reduce your savings rate just a bit and take a special vacation while your kids are still home. Perhaps you can retire now and plan on doing some part-time work instead of doing a job you hate for the next 3 years until “the numbers work.” You get the idea. Cut back that spoke that’s gotten a bit too long, and invest some energy into the spoke that’s too short. The wheel turns better that way…
Seek Daily Happiness
Ironically, my friend J$ (“Jay Money”) over at BudgetsAreSexy wrote an article on this topic when I was halfway through my draft of this post. He’s a better writer than I am, and his post “Daily Happiness > Future Happiness” is a must-read if you suffer from The Someday Syndrome. As he says in the introduction of the post:
If you’ve found yourself in a continual loop of obsessing about the future lately, STOP IT!!
Do not wish your days away! Today is more important!!
He’s a great writer, and I’m glad he’s back at the helm at Budgets Are Sexy. If you’ve not yet discovered him, check out that post. You won’t regret it.
Your Someday Is Today
To break The Someday Syndrome, embrace the reality of every day you’re given. What follows is a seemingly odd video to include in a retirement blog, but it’s a helpful reminder for anyone suffering from The Someday Syndrome. As I was walking the dogs around our 1.5-mile trail this morning, this song came into my head as I was thinking about this post. Consider it providence, but I felt it worthwhile to share this classic bible school song since it’s been filling my head ever since (it’s catchy that way, and why should I suffer alone?). Ponder the lyrics, and find a way to be glad in every today you’re given.
I will rejoice and be glad in it: A conscious decision to be joyful in every day you’re given.
Sure beats waiting for someday to arrive.
Choose To Be Content
I find it interesting that the very first post I wrote on The Retirement Manifesto, way back in April 2015, was titled Contentment. Making a conscious decision to be content has long been a focus of mine, and something I strive for on a regular basis. As I wrote in that post, “I, choose to be content.” Simply making the decision to pursue contentment can go a long way to changing your outlook on life, and is a proven defense against The Someday Syndrome. Have you made that declaration to yourself? If not, why not? I’d encourage you to adopt that mindset today rather than wait until someday to realize the importance of your mindset.
Practice contentment. Today.
Live Life To The Fullest Each Day
I have to give credit where credit is due for this final suggestion. Back in December 2021, I wrote “Retirement Is Nothing Like I Thought It Would Be.” Dusty left the following comment on that post, and I created a draft post titled “The Someday Syndrome” immediately after responding. Sometimes it takes me a while to work through that draft folder, but this post is for you, Dusty. Thanks for motivating me to write this post, and for your reminder to “live life to the fullest each day!”
Are you suffering from The Someday Syndrome? It’s something we all struggle with from time to time, and that’s okay. The danger lies in becoming absorbed in a life that’s spent waiting for tomorrow’s someday instead of savoring every day we’re given. If you’re focused too much on a future that may never arrive, try applying a few of these tips in your life now (and don’t wait for someday to get started).
Work on being Present, today.
Life’s too short to spend it waiting for a someday that may never arrive.
Your Turn: Have you ever experienced The Someday Syndrome? What were you waiting for, and what tips do you have for others who may be going through it now? Let’s chat in the comments…