Yesterday’s Tomorrows

“Tomorrow […] comes into us at midnight very clean.
It’s perfect when it arrives and puts itself in our hands.
It hopes we learned something from yesterday.”
Marion Robert Morrison (John Wayne)


“Tomorrow, I’ll take better care of myself.”
“Tomorrow, I’ll make smarter choices.”
“Tomorrow, I’ll get enough sleep.”
“Tomorrow, I’ll pursue healthier relationships.”
“Tomorrow, I’ll work on being a better human being.”

Today, right now while you’re reading this, you’re living out yesterday’s tomorrow. This is the tomorrow you dreamed about.

i walked out onto the snow-covered deck,
and stepped into the hot tub.
feeling small in the vastness of the dark, winter sky,
i took refuge in the heat enveloping me,
and bade farewell to today—to yesterday’s tomorrow—
and looked forward to a new day;
another twenty-four hours of doing and being.


I simultaneously recognize the fruitfulness of having a plan, and the futility of planning too far ahead. When we keep holding up placards that list the “agenda for tomorrow”, we’re putting a lot of pressure on ourselves. No wonder we’re living in a country where millions of people are being treated for anxiety. Apprehension about what we’re “supposed” to do can be overwhelming.

bright, white stars disguised as diamonds became the show,
and the silence was interrupted only by
the icy water dripping off the trees.
in the stillness i felt the yesterday and saw the tomorrow.
i understood the Svengali-like power that tomorrow offers,
insidiously encouraging us to let go of today in favor of it:
a tomorrow that beckons with promises of better.


If we keep telling ourselves our “plans for tomorrow”, but don’t act on them, we’re creating a pattern of not trusting ourselves to do what we say we’re going to do. It’s similar to a familiar parenting situation: the parent tells the child repeatedly that if she does (or doesn’t) do ABC, then XYZ is going to happen. If she does (or doesn’t) do ABC and XYZ doesn’t occur, then pretty quickly she’s going to realize that it’s just smoke and mirrors. We’re that child thinking, “I knew you really didn’t mean that you were actually going to do that.” Then we have to look at ourselves in the mirror and answer, “yep, you’re right, it sounded good but you really weren’t worth it.”

tomorrow calls to you, then taunts you
with promises of meeting unfulfilled desires.
fears—trivial and significant—take over
and the todays become paralyzed,
mercurial blips of time,
where the vicissitudes of the day cause
dormant dreams to, again, go on the “tomorrow” list.


So, how do we wrap our arms around yesterday’s tomorrows?
How do we regain control?
Ultimately we have two choices:
1. make only promises to ourselves that we’re able to/want to/really plan to keep
2. decide to accept each day as we receive it, and then—without judgment, preordained ultimatums, or condescension, live fully into it.

Aspirations are great.
Good intentions are wonderful.
Self-improvement is healthy.
Losing all of our todays in anticipation of tomorrows can be disastrous.

in yesterday’s tomorrow,
the sky is painted with clouds on a light blue background.
birds take flight.
the world comes alive.
unlike the still, piercing quiet of last night,
the howling, whirling wind announces loud and clear,
“i’m here, pay attention to me.”


So, I wish you a really different kind of day.
The baton has been handed to you.
The choices are yours to make.
The next minute will be created no matter how you use it.
Today is what we have to work with.

©peace full home™/intentional living

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