There’s an old expression that goes: “Today is the first day of the rest of your life.”
Being a guy that likes to live more in the moment, I constantly adjust this expression to fit my needs for the particular time I am experiencing. Currently I am looking at each day as the first day of the rest of this year’s Christmas shopping season.I like to look at each day as such because, psychologically, when you convince yourself that it is the first day, that means there are many days to follow and, if you are a procrastinator like myself, then you always have plenty of time to get things done.
Yes, Christmas shopping is a lot like life itself.
Of course in Christmas shopping, as in life, you will stop one day, look at yourself in the mirror and say: “Where the heck did all the time go?”
It is usually around this point that you will force yourself to take the time to sit down and make a comprehensive list of either your life’s goals going forward or what gifts you will need to buy which can be bought within a five-mile radius of each other because, well, time is now running out.
Once you have written your lists you need to get to work. Whether it is that novel that has been bouncing around in your head for the past fifteen years, finally taking those piano lessons or learning that language, losing that hard to get rid of ten pounds, or finding that elusive unique gift of clothing that your wife has been hinting at that she’d like for Christmas, you realize that the time is now and, yes, today, isn’t really the first day of the rest of your life or Christmas shopping any longer.
Once you’ve made this realization and procrastinated a bit longer while making the lists themselves, it is finally time to take action, as painful as that can sometimes be. You know that there is work to be done and time is running short. You realize that even though your intentions are good and you are getting down to the nitty gritty, there will still be many diversions along the way to distract you from your final goal.
In life, as in Christmas shopping, speaking from my own experience, there is always going to be an electronics store that you will have to pass through on your way to the women’s clothing outlet where you will have to search for that unique clothing item. If you can keep your focus and eyes on the real prize, there may still be time to come back and stare at that 64-inch HD Smart TV which you know you really don’t have any room for in the first place.
In Christmas shopping as in life, you may put your nose to the grindstone now that you realize time is running out and work really hard at what you want. You ignored the electronics store (and even those cool kiosks with all that weird stuff that seems cool at the time but will soon be collecting dust) and focused on the prize, but that unique piece of clothing is nowhere left to be seen; the racks have been picked clean by those who got an earlier start.
Some may feel defeated, realizing that they gave too much too late and let it bring them down. Others may just pick out something else and settle for second best. The rest of us can use it as a learning tool. We realize that there will be other opportunities in life to grab that elusive golden ring and that the next time we will be ready, we won’t sit back and we will take action and not fall into that “First Day” mentality that got us into so much trouble before.
Next year we will get an earlier start.
As for me, I’m hoping that by writing this insightful article that it will serve as the perfect excuse when that unique article of clothing, or whatever else I start out too late once again this year to buy, doesn’t appear under the Christmas tree.
After all, it did take me most of the day to write it and now it’s late and, well, tomorrow is another day.
Brendan is the author of “The Flatlander Chronicles” and “Best Of A F.O.O.L. In New Hampshire” which are available at www.BrendanTSmith.com. Brendan and his wife Kimberly, who writes the “Art Girl” column will be appearing at the Gilmanton Year-Round Library Saturday, December 5th at 1pm.