Waiting for “When”

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Waiting for “When”

You’ve heard the expression, “Say when…when you’ve had enough,” haven’t you? It’s a fond expression that I appreciate. It’s been around forever, though I couldn’t find how it started. When I say forever, I mean at least the 1880’s.  We most commonly hear it when pouring drinks or being served food.

The best time I remember hearing it was in the movie, “Regarding Henry.” Do you remember the scenes?  First, when his secretary was pouring Henry coffee she told him to say “when,” when he had enough.  Then second, when Harrison Ford as Henry told his secretary he had said “when” and quit his job. Sweet movie with a sweet story.
It always seems to refer to ‘enough,’ doesn’t it? Whether pouring cream into coffee, grinding pepper onto a salad, how big a serving, or how fed up one might get with a job or a task, a simple “when” can stop it.

How often are we waiting for “when?” 

There is another way we often use the word “when.”  Rather than it meaning “stop, that is enough,” more commonly we use it as a moment of significance, a key moment.

It would probably take me hours to list all the times I’ve waited for one thing, one event to occur before I would do something else.

  • When our kids are in school….
  • When they graduate…
  • When I have more time…
  • When I learn how…
  • When I finish one more…
  • When I retire…

With “when” often comes “then.”

  • Then I’ll go back to school…
  • Then I will move…
  • Then I will get a job…
  • Then I will plant a garden…
  • Then I will learn a second language…
  • Then I will travel…
  • Then I will exercise…

It’s striking how often we postpone what we want or need to do. I wonder how much more we could achieve if that word wasn’t part of our vocabulary.

Is “when” just an excuse to put off doing something we want to do?  As an example, exercise on a daily basis is a big one for me.  Too many days I say I will go for a walk WHEN I finish one more article.  Next time I look up there is no time left.

Not a big deal for a day, but risky to one’s health over time.  Do we put off changing our diet to healthier eating, figuring we’ll get to it later?  Isn’t that just another form of “when?”

We find time for what is important to us

Yet if you consider it, we tend to make time for what is important to us. We figure out how to make it happen.  I always seem to find time to read because it’s a favorite thing to do.  So why is it difficult to take some of that time to study that second language or go for that walk?

Do you suppose it is a matter of discipline?  For that circumstance it seems so.  The solution is fairly easy too.  Change up the time of day for that walk, set a timer and simply go when the alarm goes off.  It should be a small, relatively easy time problem to  solve.

We can lose so much with our waiting.

Sometimes it isn’t that easy to fix.  Sometimes you don’t get a chance to change it. In a different example, far sadder and perhaps extreme, I know several widows who were waiting to travel with their spouses until they retired, only to have the spouse die before they got to “when.”

When I think of how often that happens, it makes me wish everyone would schedule that trip they have been wanting to take.  It doesn’t mean you should go into debt or be irresponsible.  It means if it is something you have been wanting to do, make a way.  In our lives there are usually things we can cut back on to save for the trip if necessary.  If getting time a way seems too difficult, it might be even more important.

Rethinking our goals to get there

Do you need to rethink your goals and plans to make them realistic?  I do.  It’s time to look at them with a fresh view, one of doing now, not “then…”  Once I free myself to think that way, it will be easier to detail them out, to figure out how I can achieve what I want now.  Some of the things on our lists will be easy to accomplish, some with as little as an hour a week.  Some will take more planning.

Finding things I enjoy doing will motivate me to do them.  I wonder, if we all took time to consider that and make a few changes here and there, if we wouldn’t find ourselves reaching the place we want to be and enjoying every minute of getting there.
I guess my first new goal is to stop waiting for “when.”

Here’s a great book to get you on track with goal setting.  It is so simple to say “write it down,” yet it works well and is something we often don’t think we need to do.

A bucket list became a rage along with the movie, but I’ve never thought it was something I would do.  Same with you?  This book will change your mind.  In a way, it could be called a goal list instead of a bucket list.    I love it because it makes me think of areas I wouldn’t consider planning necessary.  Not only can you go to the Travel Bucket List and write down your choices for trip locales, but you will find a gratitude and compassion bucket list, a spiritual bucket list, a learning bucket list, and more.

The chapters will make you think further than the top goals you hope to achieve.  That is always a good thing to me.  The more I write down the more it makes me think of other things to add.  So now I would like to fill it up.


Merry Citarella, often writing as Merrci, writes on a wide range of topics. Recently relocated to the Oregon Coast in the northwest United States, she frequently writes travel features on the beautiful Pacific Northwest. She specializes in health and aging, Alzheimer’s Disease, food, lifestyle, and book reviews. For more information you can see her on The Writers’Door. You can read more articles here or at her websites Alzheimers HQ and Simple Living Ideas

Author: Merry

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1 Comment

  1. What a great article Merry. So true.. I’ve said it so many time – waiting for when when seriously you just have to take the plunge and do it.

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