How Soon Is Now?


Patience has never been a virtue of mine.  If I could fairly be described as epitomizing any real virtues, “patience” would not be one of them.  My answer to most questions about when I would like for something to happen, a start-date, a beginning, whatever, is “yesterday.” Followed by a flat affect, a hard stare betraying not a hint of humor.  I could resist the urge to blink my eyelids for hours when in such a state.  Probably wouldn’t even realize that my eyes needed a blink. 

Don’t get me wrong, this is not about impulsiveness or self-control.  I’ve read the Stanford cupcake stories.  I don’t need cupcakes.  It’s about collapsing the time-space continuum with the snap of one’s fingers.  Making shit happen, you might say.  And the “happen” part ought to happen prontoYesterday

I can’t recall the last time I didn’t have a goal in-mind, a place to be, a scheduled point in time, a clear intention, a purpose.  And I’m not necessarily talking about big stuff like running a marathon, graduating from some program or another, or landing a new professional gig.  I’m thinking of “walk the dog at 9am.” “Start the coffee machine on the kitchen counter, then fill up the dog’s bowl, then and only then pull up the KQED app on the cracked iPad propped up on the kitchen counter.”  In that order.  Not OCD.  Just the most efficient, time-maximizing processes of which I can conceive. No time for casual daydreaming.  We can schedule “casual daydreaming time” in my iPhone’s calendar for later this afternoon, if you like.  We could do that. There.  It’s done.

This is probably not an especially healthy approach to daily life.  I recognize that.  Or rather, I will recognize that, from 12:30pm to 12:45pm today — the window I’ve set aside to contemplate “a healthy approach to life.”  There’s just not a lot of unscheduled time going on in my head reserved for not being reserved.  That makes for an extremely productive human being, perhaps, but not one humming “ommm” cross-legged in a blissful state.

I see glimpses, for sure.  (Albeit scheduled glimpses.)  A moment during a frigid swim in San Francisco Bay just off the beach at Crissy Field.  The rising sun paints the Golden Gate Bridge a purple hue, just over my shoulder, the aching of my frozen teeth fading temporarily into the background.  Wailea playfully grabbing and throttling the nearest oversized stick lying on a trail in the Presidio, responding to the slight dog-like hunch of my back I show her from a distance.  Me communicating with my dog half a football field away, via this all-but-imperceptible nuanced posture.  Watching our 13 year-old grappling in the corner of the soccer pitch with an opponent whose uniform holds 40 more pounds than Max’s.  In these moments, Max is oblivious to the outside world, losing himself completely in his white-hot desire to win the battle of elbows and hips.  I mind-meld with him, silently experiencing and savoring his emotions and the jostling and the smell of the steamy turf as if I were the one wrestling near the flag.

I live for these moments.  I foolishly believe that I can calendar them.  Queue them up on my updated to-do list.  Impatient for their materialization at the appointed hour.  But that’s not the way it works, apparently.  That’s OK.  I’ll wait.  Ommmmmmm….

Thanks for reading. 


  1. This was my initial response after reading this: Respectfully, humor-fully are you sure you don’t have ADHD or anxiety? Seems like you’re on fast forward.

    Then I read your “about” page. You’re an “incurable entrepreneur” which I’m assuming means you “walk the walk”. You get things done. You’re successful. And I thought “Impressive” and “God how I wish I were more like you”.

    Again respectfully and with curiosity do you consider yourself an “overachiever”?

    I am a self-confessed underachiever and an obsessive dreamer and in my hypomania I have countless “business ideas” and desire to be an entrepreneur. Alas, I am a chicken shit and have a fear of failure.

    I LOVE your blog title by the way. Citrus rocks!

  2. I’ve tried so hard to schedule my life… I’m a teacher, so from 8am to 3pm every minute is planned and I always optimistically try to carry that over into my personal life. It rarely works… I have so many empty planners. And I’m nearly always late! Maybe I should schedule some time to contemplate a healthy approach to life, too…

    Great post!

  3. Maybe it is the way it works, whether we want it to, are aware of it, or not?

    I seem to have trouble recalling the last time I didn’t have a goal in mind either, nor a non-scheduled time for yoga or meditation.

    Darn it, is there actually a way we can exist where we do make shit happen and also mindlessly fall into an unscheduled “ommmm”?

  4. The nice thing about time, is that we all have the same amount each day. As a leisure educator, I have to remind myself that having a set schedule, while fine, is OK to adjust, even if it is to do absolutely nothing productive for several minutes. The Ancient Greeks, in attempting to define leisure, stated that contemplation was a worthy leisure pursuit 🙂 I really enjoyed reading your blog!

  5. I can totally relate to this post. I tend to schedule just about everything, feeling incredibly satisfied when I have completed a task I’ve set for myself. Thanks for sharing!

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