There are a few words in the English language that, while seemingly harmless on their own, I believe we make toxic with the way in which we use them. The word potential for example. A girl I once knew was constantly told "you have so much potential." She would talk about how often people said this to her in her saddest moments and at first I thought those words buoyed her up and rallied her to become the person she knew she should be.
The more I got to know her, the more I realized what people were really saying when they used that word. What they really wanted to say was "you are a sorry excuse for a human being. You're rude, unkind, and entirely selfish, and you're going to burn bridges with anyone that's decent because no one wants to be around someone who acts like you." Instead, they tried their best to turn it to a cheerful "you have so much potential." The fact is, you rarely hear one person tell another they have potential when they're proud of them or think highly of what they've done.
Even though I'm in Estonia, there's plenty of graffiti written in English. One bit of graffiti caught my eye Friday night as I walked back to the dorms:
It got me thinking about that word. We've grown up with this mythical idea of the word Someday.
Someday my Prince will Come for example. You know... you sing the words and sit by a well and some handsome man is bound to show up to finish what you're singing. The truth is that those who sit by the well will often find their only company is their own echo. Someday.
Or have you ever noticed how someone talks about life long dreams? They're telling you about how they want to go to that particular place, or pursue a particular hobby, or get that particular job and they end with a sigh--the word someday wedged into its corners.
To the untrained ear it sounds hopeful, but after saying that, what do we do to make our someday happen? As one of my favorite teachers once said, "luck favors the prepared."
So here's my newest commitment to myself: no more somedays. For anything that's important to me there's something I'm doing to make it happen. If it's on the sidelines, it's because I put it there... not by chance, happenstance, or because I'm waiting for my fairy godmother to come wave her wand and make my dreams come true.
I am the captain of my fate. I will take a stand and own it.