Why “Tomorrow” Isn’t Useful
2020-03-04 23:20:00 -0600

Some helpful definitions (copyright Emma Sax):

  • tomorrow: the word as defined in the dictionary, used in a sentence; a tangible and understandable day that is coming up in the near future
  • today: the word as defined in the dictionary, used in a sentence; the present date
  • Tomorrow: the conceptual idea of tomorrow, which in reality, is just an unclear date in the near future that is neither explicit, understandable, nor tangible
  • Today: the conceptual idea of today; the present moment and date

I need to start of this blog post by clarifying: tomorrow is useful. When I’m planning my week, it’s quite useful to be able to say “I need to go to the store tomorrow.” It’s pretty much necessary to acknowledge tomorrow when I’m talking about making simple plans in the future, and what I intend to do. In this case, tomorrow is a tangible thing, after all, it’s just a day of the week that’s coming up in the future. However, what I’m talking about is the conceptual idea of Tomorrow (with a capital T). And in this case, Tomorrow is not useful at all.

In short, the reason Tomorrow is not useful is because Tomorrow will never happen. Tomorrow is the short name for “in the near, but not explicit, future.” But what is literally and tangibly tomorrow at this very moment, will eventually become today, and what is conceptually Tomorrow, will never become Today.

I know the concept is a little bit confusing to explain, so I’ll try to explain with an example. If today is Friday, then tomorrow is Saturday (woohoo, it’s the weekend). But when tomorrow actually rolls around, then today is Saturday. And when we tell ourselves “I need to go to the store tomorrow,” we actually mean “I need to go to the store on Saturday.” And since, now, tomorrow is today, it means it’s time to go to the store.

But how many times have we told ourselves we’re going to do something Tomorrow, a.k.a., sometime in the future… maybe? I know I’ve done it multiple times. “I’m going to start that new diet Tomorrow.” “I’m going to go to the gym Tomorrow.” “I’m going to call my grandmother Tomorrow.” “Why don’t we just clean up the garage Tomorrow?” We say these sentences when we don’t really want to do whatever thing we’re planning. We’re saying we’ll do the task Tomorrow because we don’t want to do it Today. We’re saying we’ll do the task Tomorrow with the idea that Tomorrow, we’ll be a better, more productive, kinder, healthier, etc, person.

But what I want to urge you (and myself) to consider is that instead of wanting to be that better person Tomorrow (in the near future), why don’t we try to become that person Today? “I’m going to start that diet Today.” “I’m going to go to the gym Today.” If we keep telling ourselves we’re going to do something Tomorrow… well, Tomorrow will never arrive. What we’ve got—all we’ve got—is Today. And tomorrow, we’ll still only have Today.

So start those projects you’ve been putting off Today. Start eating carrots instead of chips Today. Start a new exercise routine Today. All we have is Today, and that’s all we’re ever going to have. A person’s life is simply made up of a lot of Todays strung together in a row. And the goals, good deeds, and tasks that we continue to put off until some time in the near, but not explicit, future will never actually happen until we decide that we’re ready to start them Today.