The Cycle of Wishing: 4 Excuses You Tell Yourself about Life and Writing

By: Marilyn L. Davis

“There’s no point having wishes if you don’t at least try to do them.” Sally Nicholls: Ways to Live Forever

The Cycle of Wishingmagic-wand-amancay-maahs-creative-commons

Most people, including me, waste too much time not pursuing their passions; instead, sitting around, they complain about their lot in life, or, they sigh longingly when a TV show features deep sea fishing; and yet, they don’t marshal the will, resolve, or resources to actually make that trip and catch a marlin. They’d love a magic wand to make things happen, but know it’s not realistic, so they only dream of exciting new adventures, careers, or hobbies and don’t put the effort into pursuing them. Do any of these sound like you?

  1. What about the book that you have written in your head or that memoir gathering dust in your journals?
  2. All those people, telling you for years, that you are authentically funny, yet you never seem to make it to Open Mike night at the local comedy club.
  3. Have you always wanted to celebrate New Year’s Eve in Times Square?
  4. You know that you have great entertaining skills. All of your friends envy how you know themes, decorations, and serve the best food, but you lack the courage to open your own event planning business.

Unfortunately, many people have the dream, but give up after the first attempt. They feel discouraged and let down. Too many then just give up on the dream. Or they use some of the usual excuses to give up or create barriers to their happiness. How often have you used one of the timeless excuses? You only wished you could fulfill your dreams? For most of us, we use the same excuses for giving up on our dreams:

  1. I don’t have the money for those big wishes and dreams
  2. I must work; I can’t have an adventure, write a book, or climb a mountain.
  3. I’m too old
  4.  I’ll do it someday

Then there are people out there who are having an adventure, writing their book, or climbing a mountain.

Think of Carter, from the movie, The Bucket List. Looking at it longingly, he throws it away when he finds out he only has a year to live. His roommate finds his discarded list, and the adventure begins. Are you more like Carter or his friend, Edward Cole?

I Understand the Excuses

My daughter was on the first Student Culinary Olympia team from Johnson and Wales, a culinary arts school, so exotic foods are not new. However, most are not in my budget. But The Bucket List’s coffee choice made me think of other things that are expensive that would be interesting to try, so I took a look at Edward Cole’s coffee, Kopi Luwak.  

The Asian Palm Civet eats and excretes the coffee beans. They are usually cultivated in Indonesia, Philippines, and East Timor. It is considered to be the world’s most expensive coffee at $700 per kilo.

Nor would I leave out the sweets, so here’s the most expensive sundae in the US, the Golden Opulence. It’s a $1000 ice cream sundae. The Serendipity describes the Golden Opulence Sundae  as follows:

“5 scoops of the richest Tahitian vanilla bean ice cream infused with Madagascar vanilla and covered in 23K edible gold leaf, the sundae is drizzled with the world’s most expensive chocolate, Amedei Porceleana, and covered with chunks of rare Chuao chocolate, which is from cocoa beans harvested by the Caribbean Sea on Venezuela’s coast.

The masterpiece is suffused with exotic candied fruits from Paris, gold dragees, truffles, and Marzipan Cherries. It is topped with a tiny glass bowl of Grand Passion Caviar, an exclusive dessert caviar, made of salt-free American Golden caviar, known for its sparkling golden color. It’s sweetened and infused with fresh passion fruit, orange, and Armagnac”.

atlanta-to-vegas

I know I’d like that sundae; however, Atlanta to Las Vegas for a dessert – who am I kidding?

  1. I don’t have the time to drive the 28 hours
  2. I’ve got three paying articles due by Thursday
  3. At 69, I may be too old to be daydreaming about sundaes
  4. I don’t have $1000 to spend on a sundae. 

My truck wouldn’t make it to Vegas, but it can make it to the local Dairy Queen.

So, I’m going to take a 30-minute break, drive the 7 miles to the Dairy Queen, spend $5 on a hot fudge sundae, and remember being a kid. Oh, and knock one more thing off my wish list – a sundae just for the heck of it.

Conquering the 4 Big Excuses: Let’s Modify It and Get Close 

  1. It’s Not Always about the Money

Money, or lack of money, is often the determining factor in making a wish come true. However, sometimes modifying the dream or wish list can get you close to the mark.  Simple Pleasures to Enhance Your Life and Comfort Your Soul by Tracey McBride shows you ways to feel pampered while, not breaking the bank.

My mother grew up on a farm in Indiana. She had an opportunity to live with a family while she was in school during World War II. The husband was English and had lived in Europe during his early twenties. She accompanied the family on a trip to New York City, and as she put it, “Gawked her way down 5th Avenue.”

At a French restaurant, she ordered the Vichyssoise soup as it was one of only a few words she had heard someone else say. She thought ordering it would be easier than struggling with so many other unfamiliar words. Years later, when she served us “plain old-fashioned potato soup,” she would dress it up by saying it was “Le Hot Vichyssoise” or Soupe de pommes de terre.

Just give me a bowl of potato soup made with butter, carrots, onions, and just the right amount of pepper, along with a good crusty rustic bread, and I’m transported to my European place.

  1. Time: We All Get the Same 24/7/365

Regardless of where you live on this planet, you have the same 24 hours that every other person has. How you choose to spend your time is typically dictated by your responsibilities, primarily work and family.

However, once those have been satisfied, you do have discretionary time.

If you want to write, make the effort, not time. Allocate the time to do a little each day, say 20 minutes, or set aside one night and write for several hours. Either way, you’re going to get the writing done because you’ve made it a priority.

Enlist your family’s cooperation in this; negotiate for a writing night, offset by a family night – board games, kid’s choice dinner, or a movie, and then you won’t feel guilty when you have your quiet time to write.

  1. Yonder Mountainhazy-mountain-for-scott

Certainly, some are too old for youthful dreams – an Academy Award Winning performance; a Singer/Drummer/Guitarist is a famous rock band or a professional baseball player. That doesn’t mean that you can’t bring forth your inner diva. Explore options for local theater productions. Is a part of the reason you never pursued acting because you have stage fright? Then see if painting sets, singing in the chorus, or a non-speaking part wouldn’t satisfy your inner Barrymore.

You’ve always wanted to climb Mt. Everest, but you realize that isn’t going to happen. See if a family trip to an area with a reasonable mountain trail would satisfy both your inner Sherpa and your young son trying to get a Boy Scout badge. Plan that family vacation so that all members get to do something memorable.

Take a flag with you, if the site permits it, and imagine that you’re Hillary – stand proud and tall and know that modifying the dream doesn’t diminish the feeling of satisfaction.

Do you know a lot about baseball? Ever played as a high school or college student? See about coaching Little League. They won’t know you never played in a stadium, and your knowledge could help develop the next Babe Ruth

Want to form that band but never learned to sing, play, or know what a Zildjian is? Explore options for taking lessons. You may find that singing in the shower at the top of your lungs, or twanging out a soulful melody, or learning to multitask with hands and feet keeping time to some classic drum beats, is enough.

  1. Realize that Someday is Now

Time keeps on slippin’, slippin’, slippin’
Into the future – Steve Miller Band, 1976melting-time

See if there is not a way to make these daydreams and bucket list activities happen.

If not, how close to the intent can you get? An online friend of mine told me about a year ago that he wanted to be a writer. I asked him what he thought it would take to fulfill this dream. I got a long list of things that he thought were necessary to be a writer:

  1. Literary Agent
  2. Publisher
  3. Excellent press reviews

After a few more messages, he agreed that he would have all of those things if he were a published, recognized writer. I then asked him if he had any idea how the great writers – Shakespeare, Wolfe, and Hemingway – all started out. He replied that he did not; I told him that they committed to putting pen to paper and letting their hands record what was in their heads.

Then all of them needed help; they gave their newest creation to someone with a critical eye to edit.

Some of their editors made the writing more accessible to the public, and others played devil’s advocate with the confusing or too lengthy passages. Wolfe had his Maxwell Perkins, Shakespeare his Edmond Malone, and Hemingway, well, he was fortunate as his fourth wife, Mary, was readily available when Maxwell Perkins was busy with other authors.

After we had messaged, we started talking by phone, and he made the effort to write. He submitting articles to magazines; he sent his manuscript to publishing houses, where he had to accept rejection or negative comments from some, and he sometimes felt discouraged.

In other words, practicing and learning his craft.

Today, this man is a published author of a book of poetry. That genre is not the easiest to write. Nor is it likely to gain him a top slot on the New York Times Bestseller list. His book of poetry is also not going to let him buy the mansion on the lake, either, but he’s a dedicated to his passion, personally fulfilled, writer.

if-not-now-when

What Are You Doing about Your Wishes?

Are you ignoring your passion? Is there a burning desire to accomplish a particular thing? Have you had a lifelong desire to do something? Are you still making excuses that prevent you from pursuing your purpose? Then ask yourself:

  1. If there are valid reasons for not achieving the goal,  how close to the intent can you get?
  2. Is there a way to make these daydreams and wish list activities happen?
  3. What can you modify, alter or get close to on your wish list and stop making excuses?

Let me know what you dream of doing and if this encouraged you to try another approach. And if you still think you’re too old, don’t have the funds, you’ll try it tomorrow – which never seems to come, then think about all those late-in-life passions that other people found.  If your passion is writing, then consider submitting it to Two Drops of Ink. 

 

Two Drops of Ink: The Literary Home for Collaborative Writing

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14 comments

  1. Hi Marilyn – As always, your posts are interesting, insightful and present the reader with options. This was another in a long line of helpful posts. I don’t know how you bring forth so much content, but I am so glad you do and that you share it so freely. 🙂
    I love your consistent gentle nudges and each time I read one of your posts, I feel as if I am sitting down for a conversation with a trusted mentor!
    I love your reminder that “someday is now.” The older I get the more I know this to be true. I wish I had learned this lesson much earlier in life – but alas, I can’t go back – but I can go forward.
    I also have had to learn that while there are many things I’d like to do, for one reason or another they aren’t possible – BUT there are so many that ARE POSSIBLE! I am choosing to focus on what is possible each day. 🙂 and to intentionally pursue my passion (writing). The encouragement from everyone here at Two Drops makes that pursuit easier. Thank you!
    Oh and Congrats to your daughter! What an accomplishment! Perhaps she will cook some of those culinary delights for her Mama if you ask nicely 🙂

    Like

  2. I really enjoyed this article. Those excuses are constantly finding ways to enter my subconscious, attempting to convince me that it’s easier to give up. The most helpful method I’ve come up with so far is to imagine what my life would be like if I listened to those excuses – it’s not at all who I want to be and that motivates me to keep writing.
    Great article – thanks for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi, Nick. Those excuses plague most of the population but I’m glad you’ve found your personal way to avoid giving in to them. Imagining the positive and negative outcomes works for me in my recovery as well, so I know it’s a great way to overcome the predictable excuses.

      Thanks for stopping by and commenting. I appreciate that.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Sometimes the biggest roadblock is the person you share your life with. I have bee writing every night for 4 months now. On the nights he isn’t at work, my husband asks “Are you writing tonight?”, as if it’s an interference. My dream is a beach house; he is change adverse. I have decided that with or without his support, I will be a writer and I will have my beach home. 60 years old is more than enough time to live to please others

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    • Hi, Pat. Thank you for commenting. I’m sorry that you’re not getting the support you need to write. I’ve talked with others who share this same frustration and we’ve come up with a couple of plans. 1. Negotiate for time to write. 2. Look at the family/couple schedule and see if there’s not something the family/spouse can do independent of the writer and then use the time to write. In several cases, time was allocated for family/spouse and specific time for writing – both honored. Again, the scheduling of independent time means that everybody is doing something they value without interfering in the other’s activities. Not trying to manage your marriage though, Pat.

      I think we are all change resistant, just usually in different areas of our lives.

      Hope you keep writing though.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. This goes with my Live Fully motto. I went hiking with a friend and she was talking about not having the time to get out very often. We hiked a pretty good ways and she said something about having difficulty getting motivated. I said how grateful I was to be able to move and to get out and live fully. She said, “It sucks to be friends with a cancer survivor because you have no excuses.” You have written a great truth. Don’t wait…do it now. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    • Hi, Michelle. Somehow missed your comment. It is tough to give an excuse to someone who doesn’t rely on them. Living Fully is a wonderful motto.Keep at it.

      Liked by 2 people

  5. Marilyn, I have certainly experienced that cycle of wishing I had done something before now. The question about age always seems to pop in as an excuse not to do something. Never been to Vagas and I have no great desire to go there either, even though it is only a 28 hour drive. I’d probably stop at the Grand Canyon in preference. Then again I have already done some great things in my life, visited every continent (except Australia). I find the positive things I have done to provide inspiration to what I intend to do next. Love it!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Hi, Peter! Someone more famous than me said that on our death beds, we generally mention the things we didn’t do as the greatest regret. I’ll just keep trying to get as close to the intent as possible and that way, I know I’m still striving for the goal.

      Wow, you’ve been to more places than me. But like you, I find inspiration in setting a goal, and feel a sense of accomplishment when I put the effort into attaining it.

      Liked by 3 people

  6. Hi, John. I hope this does encourage people to follow their dreams, or at least try to get as close to the intent as possible. Sometimes, like the sundae or the soup, I’m close. I apologize if my nudges sometimes feel like a push. She smiles.

    Liked by 3 people

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