Have you ever found yourself saying, someday I am going to do something. Eventually that changes to, I always wanted to do that. Maybe it’s time to act on some of these things, before you just can’t.
In the mid 1990s I was in Chamonix talking with Jean Claude Charlet, who was then President of the “Compagnie des Guides de Chamonix.” I told him when I retire in 15-20 years, I am going to climb Mt. Blanc, the tallest mountain in the Alps. Jean Claude looked at me and said in his French-English accent, “TJ, if you don’t do it in the next year or two, you never will. Every year I watch retired men and women hire guides and try only to have to turn around well short of the summit and go back down.” The next summer I reached the summit of Mt. Blanc. I know I could not do it now.
The Covid-19 pandemic taught us how such events can alter our life plans. Many people still do not feel comfortable traveling or even going to the movies or theater. Safety is important but one should not spend the rest of one’s life in quarantine. It may be time to create some new “to do” lists. Whether it is to plant some new shrubs or fix the garage door.
Four summers ago, my wife Cindi and I were swimming in the Great South Bay when a group of kayakers passed us. At that time in her mid-sixties Cindi confided in me and said all her life she wanted to kayak.
I went ashore and grabbed my phone and without telling her ordered a kayak from Amazon. Since it arrived, she now kayaks 4-5 times a week in the summer. If not now, then when?
I sail quite a bit off East Hampton Town in Gardiner’s Bay. This summer was my 20th consecutive season sailing in Gardiner’s Bay. I remember in my thirties saying, “Someday I am going to get a sailboat and sail.” At 50 years old, unplanned circumstances led me to impulsively buy a sailboat from Joe Shaw in Hampton Bays.
I went to his home, not to buy a sailboat but to retrieve someone’s deposit check. In one of those if not now, then when moments, I pulled out my checkbook and bought the boat. That impulse changed my life.
My wife, Cindi, studied playwrighting in college. She graduated with honors from the University of Connecticut at Storrs. There she earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree with a major in acting, directing, and playwriting. She is a gifted writer and early on won some awards for her playwrighting.
However, she needed to make a decent living and left playwriting behind. Six years ago, I literally grabbed one of her plays, “Beethoven’s Promethean Concerto in C Minor WoO, ” and said, “Let’s produce this one, if not now, then when?”
On both August 5th and 6th, 2017 her Beethoven play received standing ovations at sold-out performances at the Bacca Theater in Lindenhurst, New York. Two years later (2019) another one of her original plays, “Angels Mice and Men,” was successfully produced at the Hudson Guild Theatre in NYC.
Then came covid and instead of sitting it out she wrote 8 short zoom plays that other folks produced all over the country. I sat with her amazed watching other people interpret her creations.
During covid I had a friend who paid big money for a decade to rent a nice home in Amagansett. The home was short walking distance from the ocean beach. Finally, during covid, after spending the summer secluded safely in that home, he bought a trophy home in Montauk.
There were others who sold their homes at a nice price and moved to South Carolina. Events like covid can cause folks to take action. Yet, I believe just saying, “If not now, then when,” just might be what we all need to say in order to do stuff we have just put off for way too long.