I’ve been studying happiness, good habits, and human nature for many years now.
One sub-topic I love to study is loopholes. When we’re trying to follow a good habit, when we’re trying to push ourselves to do something challenging, we’re so great at finding loopholes for ourselves, to let ourselves off the hook! These loopholes are often ingenious, imaginative, and hilarious.
During an argument, the White Queen tells Alice, “The rule is, jam tomorrow and jam yesterday—but never jam today.”
When Alice protests, “It must come sometimes to ‘jam today,’” the White Queen says—nope. It’s jam tomorrow and jam yesterday.
I often fall for this loophole myself. I have a fantasy of myself in the future: Future-Gretchen will have more time and more energy for tasks that don’t interest Now-Gretchen. Chores that I keep putting off—like turning notes into actual writing or going to the dentist—will be easy for Future-Gretchen.
But with everything we wish to do, we only have today. It may feel like “jam tomorrow and jam yesterday”—but the only day we can reach out for that jam is today.