Have you seen any pumpkins lately? I have and it’s making me crazy.
I admit that it’s childish of me to avert my eyes when I see “Back to School” signs in store windows or advertisements, but this business of pushing Halloween in August is really taking things too far.
Living in Wisconsin as I do, I also realize that the last few weeks of warm weather might have a special poignancy for me.
Just the same, I think the practice of getting ahead of ourselves runs rampant throughout our society, whether it’s selling Halloween candy before Labor Day, thinking about dinner over breakfast, or contemplating our next career move before our first job evaluation where we’re working now.
Don’t get me wrong, I love planning. It’s one of my favorite things to do. I understand perfectly well that if you want to be doing something pretty special by April, you need to be moving in that direction by August – at the latest.
I was even able to handle the pumpkins I saw in a craft store because I understand that if you want to make your own decorations, you might need to start a little earlier.
But preparing for your future is no substitute for participating in your present. If you’re always a step ahead, the chances are you’re also permanently unbalanced.
I don’t think that’s a good way to work, let alone live. You’re cheating yourself, and those around you.
Have you ever worked with extremely upwardly mobile colleagues? They’re so busy grooming themselves for their next positions that they can scarcely be bothered to meet their current obligations. It seems they’d rather go to meetings and talk about their work than do it.
The more this goes on, the more you have to wonder how much actual experience they’ve acquired and how much they could have learned from it. Career enriching knowledge doesn’t fit easily on the head of a pin, or in a bullet point.
Remember that building a career, raising your children or doing anything worthwhile is a little bit like winning a raffle – you have to be present to win.
If you’re focusing too much on the future, you might miss telltale signs in the present regarding the shape it will eventually take. Maybe those retailers who ended up with massive amounts of inventory after last year’s lackluster holiday season sales might have fared better had they paid more attention to economic indicators when they placed their orders.
So by all means, think in the long term but act in the here and now.
And I certainly hope I don’t see any Christmas decorations for at least a couple months.
by Danielle Dresden