As I’m writing this, I’m looking at an envelope on my desk. It’s an important letter to customs clearance. It’s written, sealed and stamped. But still, it’s been lying there for the past 3 days.
In an effort to run my errands more efficiently, I like to batch process tasks that can be done at the same location.
For example, if I get a call that a package has arrived but I also want to buy a present and both are near my gym, I’ll just wait and do all those things together when I had scheduled my workout. This saves me time because instead of 2/3 times I have to go downtown only once.
But the line between efficiency and laziness can be a little blurry sometimes. Like when I write a letter to customs clearance, stamp it and then say to myself “Wait! I’m going to post this the next time I have to pass the mailbox on my way to somewhere else. This saves time. Saving time is smart.”
But if I'm honest with myself, that excuse is totally ridiculous. The deposit box is right around the corner. It would literally take me only 3 minutes. But somehow I’m still waiting for the perfect moment.
The Moment That Never Came
A long time ago I met a girl I liked more than all the others. We were lying in my bed, and it was obvious were it was heading. But for some inexplicable reason (television *cough* romantic movies *cough*), my young brain believed that I should kiss her at the perfect moment.
So I waited for that. Sometimes a moment came that seemed close to perfect, but never the real deal. So I didn’t kiss her in the end. And she probably wondered “What’s the deal with this guy? Doesn’t he want me?” and stopped dating me. The end 😉
Luckily, both of those situations aren’t such a big deal. Sure, I missed out on some potential poontang. Maybe even love if we would've gotten lucky. But maybe then I wouldn't have met someone else later that I loved a lot more. And in the case of posting the letter, the worst that can happen is that I lose a pair of shoes.
But there’s some situations where waiting for the perfect moment can really fuck things up for you:
When my homeless period in California ended and I was about to hop on a plane to Belgium, I promised my best friend that I’d come visit him some time.
We had it all planned out. Completely unannounced, I’d show up in his restaurant, complain about how horrible the food was and demand to see the chef. Then when he’d come out I’d hug the shit out of him, show him the bottle of jack I had brought and we’d spend all night walking on the beach and reminiscing about the old days. Or whatever it is 2 no-longer homeless friends from the other side of the planet do when they reunite.
Every year that passed by, I thought about going. But it seemed like such a big thing and I could never fit it in (that's what she said). There was always money to spend on something else. Or gigs to play in Belgium. Or someone I wanted to cuddle with more than I wanted to leave the country. I was always waiting for the perfect moment.
Last year I though about visiting him again, so I looked up where my friend lived. And I found out that he lived nowhere. Not that he was homeless again or anything. It’s just that most likely, he didn’t live any more.
If only I hadn't waited for the perfect moment...
The Opposite Example
2 weeks ago my grandpa had decided to undergo palliative sedation. This made me think about the kind of stuff people regret on their death-bed. So I went to visit him and thanked him for all that he had done for us, including the very fact that I exist. Because without his love for my grandmother,I wouldn't even have a body I could use to walk this earth. The next day he decided not to do it (though he has since passed away).
It was an interesting experience. Knowing exactly when someone was going to die, for the first time prompted me to make sure I told them everything I still wanted to tell them. This gave me a chance to not make the same mistake I made with my friend from California.
This is a rare occurrence. Most of the time we act as if everything is permanent. While in fact, nothing is. While we're busy going through the motions, we forget that things like deaths, break-ups and losing a job don't always come with advance markings in our calendars. When we think of the future, we always think they'll still be here.
And that makes us believe we can put things off until the perfect moment. But here's the kicker:
When you are waiting for the perfect moment to do something, what does that tell you about that specific something?
It tells you that it’s either:
A) Something important that really needs to get done or talked about
B) Something or someone you really care about
C) Something that deep down in your heart of hearts, you really want to do more than the other things you currently fill your life with.
It's ironic, because that means these things that we're postponing until "the time is right" are actually or biggest priorities on an emotional level.
And if you don't do them today, there's a chance you'll never get to do them at all. Even when it may not feel that way right now.
I'm sure you can think of a couple of things like that in your own life right now...
• It’s that project you want to start, or that really weird idea for a company/social media channel that you just want to try out for the heck of it. But you never feel 100% ready yet.
• It’s reaching out to that person you really don’t know very well but somehow feel you could be become good friends or business partners.
• It’s quitting your job or applying for the new one. It’s telling your friends and family you love them for the first time. It’s doing the darn dishes cleaning your house 😉
• It’s that one sexual fantasy you’d like to try out with the person you love. Or that one romantic surprise you had for them, that you won't be able to do anymore when you're broken up.
• It’s that lie or secret you want to come clean about with your best friend. You know… The one were they react with “When were you planning on telling me this 😉 ”
… and the answer is of course always “I was waiting for the perfect moment.”
I may not know specifically what it is you want to do so badly that you want to get the timing right. But I can tell you this: I do know what moment it is right now. As I'm spending some time in it myself.
And it feels pretty darn perfect to me 😉
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