Updated on 10.26.10

“Someday, My Ship Will Come In”

Trent Hamm

On page 227 of my book, I recount a short tale of a woman dreaming a negative dream:

“Someday, things will change for me and my ship will come in,” Helen said.

Helen and I had each just gone through a trial by fire at our respective new jobs. Since we were old friends from our college days, we agreed to eat lunch together and effectively allow each other to vent about the difficult and sometimes seemingly unfair challenges we faced.

When I heard Helen talk about her ship coming in, though, I had a strange feeling inside of me. If she keeps sitting there by the dock waiting, her ship will never come in. If she’s genuinely unhappy with things to the point that she’s pinning her hopes on an unforeseen windfall, she’s doing nothing more than ensuring the continuation of her own misery.

In Helen’s comment, I saw myself. It scared me, and it made me want to start something new.

There was a long period in my life where I pretty much bet everything on my “future self.”

Someday, things would be better than they were right now, but for now, I’ll keep following the same old routine.

Someday, I would have the money to pay off all of these debts, but for now, I’ll keep spending.

Someday, I’ll be a writer, but for now, I’ll keep spending my evenings watching television and playing games.

Someday, we’ll have a house, but for now, I’ll buy myself another pile of books and a new gadget, too.

Guess what? “Someday” was never going to happen.

Every action that I took wasn’t merely a fun choice in the moment. Each of those actions had the terrible side effect of making “someday” less and less possible.

Every time I bought myself a pile of books or a gadget, I threw away some of that house down payment.

Every evening I spent watching television and playing video games, my writing skills grew weaker and the opportunity to follow my dreams grew fainter.

Every time I spent money on something I didn’t really need, I made it harder for myself to pierce through the mountain of debt that I was accumulating.

Every time I stuck to the same old routine, I gave up another day in my life that I could be working to build a new one.

If you want things to be different in your life in the future, that change needs to start today, not someday. Every hour you spend aimlessly takes you further away from that goal. Every dollar you burn on something to “relieve the stress” just ensures that you’ll be stuck with more stress in your life. Every day you spend just going through the motions and daydreaming about something better is a day you’ve spent postponing that dream.

The only road to someday is through today. Are you taking that road or are you just sitting there thinking about how great it would be?

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  1. Kate says:

    But you were right to bet on your ‘future self’, weren’t you? Your future self did all the stuff you needed to do to fix it. You won your bet, and were able to slack off and enjoy yourself at the time.

  2. Riki says:

    But that “future self” only came through because Trent made changes – it doesn’t happen magically. If he had continued on the same path, it never would have happened.

    Good post, Trent.

  3. Kathy says:

    Going through this myself and I’m at the crossroads right now. Very timely post.

  4. done that says:

    Mini-soapbox – if one of the things you are going to do someday is write a novel, that day is here. In November there is a month long challenge to complete an entire novel in that month. Check out NaNoWriMo to sign up and join the insanity.

    Or sit back and be glad that novel writing isn’t your thing!

  5. Rebecca says:

    Ouch. Conviction.


  6. valleycat1 says:

    Re#4 – Trent has already posted that he’s doing the NaNoWriMo.

  7. Tara C says:

    I was at that same place 3 years ago, spending my money and figuring I would never have the wherewithal to accomplish my dreams. Fortunately, I met the right man who inspired me and helped me to see that I could indeed accomplish my dreams and gave me the moral support and boost I needed to make changes. I’ll always be grateful to him for that.

  8. Isis Uptown says:

    If you’re waiting for your ship to come in, you’re more likely to miss the boat.

  9. cynthia says:

    nice post!

  10. Fawn says:

    Great post!! :D
    I agree! You can’t sit around, waiting for things to happen. You have to go out and make them happen!

  11. Roberta says:

    Deep. True. Thanks for the reminder . .. (I read this passage from your book and the whole book on Kindle from the free download a few weeks back, and remember being struck by this story).

  12. You are in charge of your own life….should you choose to spend it waiting, well, that’s what you’ll be doing for the majority of that life….waiting and waiting and waiting

  13. amanda says:

    This is a really great one! I had pretty much set up housekeeping on that dock while wiating for the ship, but – partly inspired by your blog- I’ve moved to a much better place.

  14. Andrew says:

    Great post. I find myself falling into this trap all the time. Not so much with money, but with my goals. To accomplish what I want to accomplish, I first need to pass the three Chartered Financial Analyst exams, but I keep picturing my future self doing it and not the current me.

    Also, I have been wanting to finish writing a novel (I have started a few). November will be a great time to finally do this.

  15. Kevin says:

    I had the exact same thought as Kate (#1). Trent’s future self DID pay off all that debt and become a writer, so Trent’s past-self did indeed get to slack off and enjoy himself. He got the best of both worlds. He got to have all the gadgets and social interactions when he was young, and his future self cleaned it all up nicely by his mid-30’s.

    Doesn’t this simply reinforce that Trent’s choices worked out just fine?

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