One day…I will

It’s June… and Santorini (unlike a lot of other destinations this year) is starting to get busy. Not quite August-busy yet… but busy enough given the times we are all living through on a global basis. The cruise ships are starting to arrive in numbers (3-5 daily) and the hotels all over the island are filling up. This means people in the streets… and for us people in the shops too. Lots of people… which also means lots of interesting conversations with people from all over the world.

Funny thing happens here… people come, they experience what I call “nature’s perfect storm” of sensory overload and they start to wonder. They wonder about living here, about making the big lifestyle change, about adventures on a Greek island, about magical sunsets, balmy evening walks on beautiful beaches and midnight swimming in crystal clear waters. They wonder about being able to wake up in the morning, walk out their front door with a coffee and be greeted by what is (I believe) the most sublime view on this planet. They wonder about having dinner with friends at a waterside taverna… with crystal clear waters below them and the sound of relaxed people all around them… looking at small fishing boats seemingly floating in the air (the water below them being so clear its almost invisible). They wonder what it’s like to walk through the little narrow lanes and go for dinner or drinks at one of the almost countless bars and restaurants the island has to offer. They wonder what it will feel like to feel free of daily city rituals, to not have to drive in traffic or hear sirens before they even get out of bed. They wonder what it would feel like to go for their morning walk… along the cliff-tops of Santorini. To look out and see things so beautiful that the brains finds almost impossible to comprehend. They wonder…

They also ask a lot of questions. What’s it like… what made you do it… was it hard/difficult… how did you decide? How much does it cost… is it easy to find a house… is it easy to renovate… what’s it like in winter? Their brain obviously switching from left to right thinking. Practical… then romantic… then back to practical… and back to romantic. They run scenarios through their heads… they pose questions and they attempt to address all the issues their “logical” self is putting forward. Some get very excited… others get quite frantic, almost beside themselves with excitement at the prospect of living here. They can “see it”… “feel it”.

Holiday over… it’s always hard to board planes and boats, go through airports and long flights home. Long conversations take place and no doubt lots and lots of notes written. All kinds of planning, to-do lists… must-do lists and must-think about lists are drafted and discussed. Alternating between the “logical” self and the “romantic/instinctive” self… they go through all kinds of issues in an attempt to rationalise what is seemingly a “huge move”… the BIG lifestyle change.

Then they return to work, daily routines, morning sirens, traffic and what they have generally grown to accept as “real life” sets in. They still look at the photos, they watch the videos and they go online searching for houses and the “perfect abandoned cave in need of some renovation”. They talk, they plan and… inevitably, they drift from their dreams (not all people mind you… but the large majority). The language changes from “I/we’re GOING to live on Santorini” to “one day…I/we will “.

Obviously Santorini is a metaphor here… you can substitute “Santorini”  for any place in the world… any goal in your life… any dream you have ever had. The issue is not “Santorini”… it’s the “one day”. It is one of the most dreadful, debilitating concepts ever devised by the human brain.
When is “one day”?  Is it proceeded by something that creates it? Is it a special day on which you will wake up a different man/woman and decide to change your life? Is it an age milestone? Is it a moment in life when you will definitively KNOW that it is time for a change? Is it several words uttered by a doctor with a very serious look on his/her face?

How do you/will you know when ONE DAY has arrived?

I don’t know why… I have no idea where or why it started, but I have always had a problem with the “one day” concept. I am a VERY patient man… and I will wait and wait and wait, till something is just right… or at least I think that the odds are working in my favour. But the “ONE DAY” is almost always something I am working hard to bring about… never waiting for it to simply happen. I remember visiting my parents every year for over twenty years whilst still living in Australia. Every year I would bring a present for my mother… almost always something to do with the kitchen (she loved her gadgets and small appliances for the kitchen). One day I asked what a cabinet at their holiday home was… what was in it?  I opened the cabinet and was stunned. There… in neat rows, all stacked away were most if not all of the small appliances I had brought her over the years. Forget the OMG moments… this was a WTF moment.

“What are all these things doing in here”? “One day… when we need them, we’ll use them” was the answer.

ONE DAY??? When is that ONE DAY?

The following year I made the trip home again. Unfortunately it was because I had lost my mother. That “One Day” never came.

If there is one thing I have learned in life… it’s this: If ONE DAY is part of your plans… put a line across it and substitute it with an actual date. A real date. Otherwise… “one day” never comes _

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12 responses to “One day…I will

  1. I think one day means it’s not going to happen. Kind of like, if you are asked to do something, and you have to think about it, then you really don’t want to do that thing. One day…it’s kind of sad.

  2. Thank you so much for this one, M. I guess we all want to jump of that cliff and fly. I thank you for all of your beautifully thought out and well spoken/written pieces. Jan

  3. This is a very true thing. But.
    And this but was not only inspired by your post. This ‘bu’t was also inspired by a similarily-themed post off a blog I read, about someone who took up the gypsy life in a caravan and wrote about how she wondered at the madness of people, living their busy city lives, not leaving off to live their dream.

    I can’t help but feel that us who live where we want to.. especially in remote pretty locations, that don’t require a commute etc. etc. rely on the very infrastructure of people who -do- live so. I sit here typing over my broadband internet from my forest in rural Ireland where I make a living as a writer and illustrator knowing that if there weren’t those city people doing all kinds of routine things like commute to cities working office jobs, I would simply not be able to make my living here. I would not be able to use the postal system, to have internet, to have water and electricity, for my publishing house to hire me, etc. My lifestyle depends on these people whose rational self trumps their instinctive self.

    So when I meet people who tell me wistfully ‘Oh to live like you,’ I do tell them I believe anyone could live like me.. but also know as I say so, that in fact not everyone can. I am very aware that some of my courage is what bought me this privilige.

  4. “One day” starts with a thought , its up to us to make it to a reality. what is important, is not to loose the thought!!! and follow your heart instead of your head. Thanks for sharing your thoughts M :-)

  5. beautifully said and oh, so true.

    thank you!

  6. So true – so familiar.
    As one who has spent my entire adult life in two “one day” places – Aspen & Santa Fe –
    I have mixed feelings about my choice to make the leap and not postpone living in these special places.
    Especially since these decisions made it lovely in the moment, but challenging for the long run.
    Those dreadful practicalities include a big dose of limited opportunities for building a very secure financial future. Today’s world has brought a certain irony to that reality:
    even those who chose the big cities and big jobs
    have ended up in precarious situations as their
    formerly “secure” worlds have collapsed !
    Why wait, indeed.

    Jjjj

  7. Hi Michael,

    Donna and I had the privilege of meeting your wife Allison at the end of May. Based on our discussions at the time, I can’t help but feel this latest blog was written with our name on it. I think your point is very valid when you suggest turning a “one day” into a “specific day”. Both Donna and I laughed when we read the part about having to get on a plane back to reality while wondering about real-estate opportunities at the various locations we have travelled to. Thanks for the words of encouragement, and thanks to Allison for the beautiful bookmark gift. We often talk about people we have known who put off their dreams until their health fails. I’m confident that won’t be us.

    Kim

  8. I know many people who save things for ‘one day’ as your Mom did. Because I’m always so aware of the fragility of life I make use of everything and enjoy what I have. Now that the instability in the place we longed for has dashed our dream we’re looking in a new direction. It will happen if we make it happen, but I also know that I am in this place now and tomorrow isn’t guaranteed.
    Your posts are always thought provoking, M.

    Catherine

  9. Very very powerful reminder. Trying to live life to it’s fullest and do what you need or want is often put aside and life is short and we all need to have our One Day before we are left with none

  10. Hi Michael!! what a wonderfull post!!! I read it to my partner and cried…. is so full of honesty, that one day is 3 weeks away from me now, going back to Oia after 18 years!!! it’s a start!!! for a small vacation and I am planning to open my senses from the moment I step down the boat! Cheers!! what is your facebook page michael? thanks!!!

  11. Very thought provoking post. I get the ‘one day’ thing and am guilty of it myself, but don’t you think that one day has to wait sometimes and pinning down a date is not that easy? After all it’s not all about what I want anymore it’s about what the family wants. I like what Lisa said about her courage bringing about the privilige. I applaud that courage….

  12. I’ve just found your site and am making my way through..I’m back to 2010 at the moment and want to write something at all your insights. Time is against me this morn but I am enjoying the reads. ‘One day” I too read something similar many years ago, and took heed and have always enjoyed whatever it is I buy, do or use. My ‘best’ perfume gets used everyday, I wear ‘good’ clothing whenever I feel like it, not just for going out, I use my ‘best’ glasses just to drink water because I enjoy it more etc etc. People say to me, “wont that get broken” or “gee I only use that for good”. I smile and think, this is my only life and I want to enjoy the best way I can! So OIa SANTORINI…Here I come!

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