Woulda Coulda Shoulda Gonna

By Mir
March 21, 2005
Category Growing

Someone dear to me recently told me that they’re an “instant gratification” kind of person, and that I am the polar opposite.

I think the Girl Scout cookies might disagree.

But it got me thinking (oh, no! not the thinking, again!) about why that is. I’m a planner. A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush? Pfft. If you wait long enough, that bush will be swarming with birds, ya know. Just wait. Besides, I might lunge and miss altogether, and then I’ll have no bird in hand plus all the other birds will get spooked and then I won’t even be able to pretend to believe I might have them later.

(Please, someone take this metaphor away from me before I hurt myself. Yes, bird spooking, a regular part of my day! Um. I’m so sorry you had to see that.)

I’m waiting. You’re going, and doing, and enjoying. And most of the time? I’m just waiting. I mean, sure, yes, I’m busy, absolutely. Always busy. But forgetting to experience as I go along. Carefully laying the foundation for what comes later, maybe. And when it doesn’t come, I woulda-coulda-shoulda my choices for a while and then start planning for the next thing.

I’ve written here more than once about the joy I experience from the rare times I’m able to really embrace the moment. It doesn’t happen very often. I’m downright lousy at it, if you want the truth. Because this moment, right now, it’s just a link in the chain! It’s just something to be endured on the way to The Big Goal.

Don’t ask about The Big Goal. The first rule of The Big Goal is that you do not define The Big Goal! The second rule of The Big Goal is that you do not define The Big Goal.

Yes, I probably should seek professional care. I realize that the time I tried to jump the last three steps on the basement stairs at my ninth grade boyfriend’s house and cracked my head on the crossbeam probably gave me permanent brain damage.

It’s adaptive, in a sick sort of way. Is the present moment in time getting you down? No problem! Keep your eyes on the prize, and keep going. Reached what you thought was The Goal and realize everything still sucks? No problem! Burn away those pesky hours and days agonizing over your every move that brought you here, and berating yourself for picking the wrong goal. Feeling happy? No problem! It’ll pass! And then you can get back to worrying about a day or a month or a year from now, because…

… you’re a maladapted neurotic moron. Haha!

Guess what’s even more fun than being like this. GO ON! Just GUESS! (The rusty forks in the eyeballs was a good guess, but no.) What’s even more fun than trying to plan out my entire life and micromanage my every feeling, is trying to do that when not everyone in the world operates the same way that I do. I mean really. Can you imagine? How am I supposed to live this way when surrounded by people who don’t??

I’ve gotta get myself a new crowd. Maybe I’ll make that part of The Big Goal. Ack! Oops! I mean, uh, I said, maybe I’ll snarf up a pig, whole. Cuz, uhhh, I’m really hungry. Yeah. (phew)


  1. dad

    The New England Journal of Psychiatry is going to have a field day with this post.
    I feel at least partially responsible because I’m a planner and of course there is that genetic stuff. But haven’t you noticed? I’ve learned to really enjoy life and you will too.
    You need a break not a new crowd. Even Yogi Berra knew “carpe diem.”

  2. Ben

    Good things come to those who wait.

    Well, that’s what they say, but I’m not good at planning. I just do things that I want, sorta half-way, and then when it all blows up I pick up the pieces and try and put it back together again.

  3. Amanda B.

    You sillyhead. Is something going around? The need to get with it and make a change or at least take the steps that might make a change possible?

    You gave me your cooties! ;P

    I have the utmost faith in you woman. You are so smart and have such a big heart. If we could just stop persecuting ourselves, man we’d be dangerous.

  4. janie

    I’m like Ben…not much of a planner. I used to be, and all I ever got was disappointed. Now I just look for opportunities to jump on what I want right now!
    still falls apart sometimes though…… :)

  5. Jenny

    Mir, I think this is exactly the second time I have commented, the first being delurk day.
    That said, this really strikes a chord with me, because I have been working on enjoying the moments as they happen, while balancing the need to plan. Not that I am a huge planner, myself, but NOT being a planner makes me feel like I am doing something wrong, myself!
    Ooooh…the tricks we play on our minds, eh? Feel free to email me if you would like to know what I specifically do for the “in the moment” awareness…it helps me a lot.

  6. Jenny

    whoops. Mim, not Mir? I take it Father knows best. And, no I am not Canadian. Despite the “eh” of the previous post..

  7. Mir

    Noooooo no no no, it’s Mir. Only my parents are allowed to call me Mim. Everyone else, feel free, but then I have to cut you.

  8. jules

    Unless of course we call you lotus blossom ;)

  9. Jenny

    Oh, OK, now I understand the Mim/Mir dichotomy. It’s ok. My parents call me “little Juan” or “boona” or “stewie.”
    Thanks for clearing it up, Mir…

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