Someday; Maybe

February 17th has come and gone. It was on my calendar to kick off the necessary actions to host our family's annual St. Patrick's Day party. Someday; maybe, you'll join us and share a story, song, joke, or poem about religion, politics, money, death and/or sex. We'll have a grand time.

Every year, I have to assess how much time, attention, and energy I can put into this event. Some years we've hosted a houseful, jammed to the rafters. Other years, it's been a small dinner with a couple of friends. Last year was to be a small event, as our business was deep in a development cycle. Even so, life happened, and March 17th came and went.

I managed the loss with hope. Next year, I thought, we'll go big. I imagined renting a small event location nearby. l imagined bagpipes.


Wait til next year.

Someday; maybe. I learned the concept from David Allen. Someday; maybe is for aspirational doing. Real doing, I also learned from David, involves the series of discrete actions, one after another, that build to an outcome.

Someday maybe requires hope: another difficult consequence of the human condition. Dante warns us, Hell is the place where all hope is lost. At the same time, his near contemporary Bernard of Clairveaux proposed hell as being full of hope. What are we to make of this?

When I discovered Someday; Maybe in 1999, I happily started populating a list of all my aspirational projects and tasks. At the same time, I was taking careful inventory for the first time of my commitments in the moment, with all the consequent projects and next actions competing for my time, attention, and energy.

Being confronted for the first time with the hard boundary of what I could accomplish, against what I believed I could, even under my new condition of efficient productivity, I realized my Someday: Maybe list had more on it than I could accomplish in this lifetime. And that was 22 years ago when I had a lot more lifetime left.

I had taken up David's Getting Things Done methodology to become better organized and, well, to get more done. A consequence, however, is I become more aware of my mortal limits.

Our curiosity, drive, and imaginations offer up hope, dreams, intentions, visions, that are practically infinite. The hell of it comes when we become overwhelmed with all the, now literally infinite, quotidian next actions to bring to them to fruition. And the sheer hell of it is when doing multiplies new necessities. Congratulations on the birth of your child, for example.

The hard work of getting things done; therefore, is the hard loss of opportunity. Every Doing requires Not Doing.

St. Patrick's Day comes during pruning season at our orchards here in Vermont. Cutting those trees back in what appears to be a harsh way, paradoxically makes them more productive. It focuses the tree's energy in hope of a richer harvest. Someday this fall; Maybe.

This has been a year of pruning for me. I'm managing the losses with hope. On my next-action list are to search for bagpipers in the region, followed by booking a performance for March 2022.

Wait til next year!

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