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I Can't Wait for the Day When...

I Can't Wait for the Day When...

What are the most fervent dreams of America's young execs? You are in for a surprise.


It's like I've always said, "I just love that International Herald Tribune."

The International Herald Tribune?

Isn't that the throwaway you ignore on the plane, in favor of your fourth reading of the spine-tingling, in-flight duty free magazine?


And yet, a recent article featured there actually caught my fancy.

The premise was an absorbing one.

Let's approach America's best and brightest young business execs, who are at the vanguard of our ever-changing universe, and ask them to complete the following sentence, "I can't wait for the day when..."

An intriguing assignment! Surely their responses will lend new insight into the mysterious phenomena that pervade our collective consciousness. What does Western culture really yearn for? What do our dreams say about our hopes for the future? Beneath the vacuous malaise that permeates our daily tabloids, cable channels, and web sites, there must be an inner striving that tugs at our truest aspirations. What day can we not wait for?

Save the drum roll for the Dave Clark Five (remember them?)

"I can't wait for the day when we have a cell phone that works everywhere in the world, one with one number that can be reached anywhere. That would be great."

So offers one young general manager from Southern California. That's the day he is waiting for. The day a cell phone works everywhere in the world. O.K. He's entitled, I guess.

That's the day he is waiting for. The day a cell phone works everywhere in the world.

"I can't wait for the distinction between the old economy and the new economy to disappear entirely," submits a 39-year-old managing partner of a growing venture capital firm. I wish I understood exactly what that meant, but I suspect you and I are better off being left in the dark on that one, anyway.

Of course, he, too, is entitled to wait for any day he wants to wait for. Free country yada yada yada. But I'm having some trouble relating very strongly to these dreams. Let's try another.

"I can't wait for the day when you hit the 'Submit' button on an Internet order and the UPS man is almost instantaneously on the porch."

I don't know about you, but I'm thrilled when I'm home and the UPS man finally arrives. Is this executive vice president of a publishing company serious that her life's dream is faster delivery service?

Am I missing something? Is that the kind of day you can't wait for? Has life really been reduced to cell phones, the new economy, and the instant UPS man?

Speed, of course, has become the going rage. It doesn't seem to matter much where we're going anymore, as long as we get there in a GIGO second. From dialing to dating, shipping to shopping, grilling, billing, surfing, banking ... you name it! So, who can blame American executives for pining for the day when the future and the present practically coincide? Everyone gets caught up in the same web (pun intended).

I can hear the voices already. "He's another one of those old fashioned, fuddy-duddy, anti-progress guys, yearning for the retro days when people actually heard busy signals and associated George Foreman with boxing."

Au contraire, my friends. I loathe waiting for things just like you do. No sir. You won't catch me on a line at the Post Office or the Motor Vehicle Bureau these days. I'M TOO BUSY!

Progress is not my problem. Nor is speed or convenience. They're all great. The only problem I have with this is the "dream" issue. There's nothing wrong with utilizing technological advances to improve our quality of life. Embracing our scientific explosion is wonderful. But should that really dominate our dreams?

It is a challenge that each one of us should confront in a most serious way.

The challenge of completing the sentence, "I can't wait for the day when..." is most compelling, indeed. In truth, it is a challenge that each one of us should confront in a most serious way. It is part and parcel of a course of action that Judaism calls cheshbon hanefesh, "spiritual accounting."

We are encouraged to "take stock" of our standing in every role of life that we play -- and to do so on a regular basis. It is this introspection that is actually the essence of our daily prayers.

Think of cheshbon hanefesh as a kind of "virtual spiritual inventory", that can help prevent life's stressors and banalities from dominating our every day existence.

Ask yourself:

  • What kind of friend am I?
  • Am I the best spouse-employee-parent-child-volunteer-sibling-teacher I can be?
  • What activities are really important to me?
  • Do I surround myself with people who bring out the best in me?
  • How do I spend my leisure time?

    And then complete the sentence:

  • I can't wait for the day when...

Your completed sentence speaks volumes about your priorities in life. Of course that sentence can, and perhaps should, change frequently throughout your life. But when you know what it is you are waiting for, it helps you attain it more quickly and more completely.

But hope abounds. Let us re-visit the International Herald Tribune for one final quote. This one from the chairman of a genomic company based in New Haven, Connecticut.

"I cannot wait for the development of drugs that would wipe out a number of deadly diseases ... like cancer and late-onset diabetes. The hint of that reality is on us right now."

Sounds like someone I'd like to have lunch with.

Of course there is no "right" way to finish that sentence. But no matter. How you exactly answer the question is not nearly as important as remembering to ask it.

February 17, 2001

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Visitor Comments: 16

(16) Anonymous, May 21, 2006 12:00 AM

"I cannot wait for the day that G-d rules the world"??????????

Um...last I checked, He's been running it pretty much forever? Actually, last I checked, He kinda...*created* it?

(15) Barbara Ferguson, March 10, 2002 12:00 AM

Living as One Human family under God

I can't wait for the day when people of all the varied races religions, and nationalities will see themselves as one human family with God as the Being that made this whole planet happen so let's live for His sake and find joy in it!

(14) Zachary Kessin, February 28, 2001 12:00 AM

It would depend on context

If you ask me what one thing do you really want to happen? It would depend on when and where you found me. If you ask me at the office you will probably get a reponse that has a lot to do with what ever project I am working on. If you ask me when I am listening to the news I will probably say "When the slap Melosavich in irons" In other contexts you will get "For the day when I can be married and have kids".

The results probably depended a lot on how and where the question was asked. If you ask an exec a question like that while he or she is at the office you will get an office related response. If you ask them at shul or church or when they are with their kids the same people will probably say "When my kid does ..."

(13) Anonymous, February 26, 2001 12:00 AM

Great article!

(12) Mark Spector, February 25, 2001 12:00 AM

Sorry to be such a cynic but...

In light of all these business-related comments, one might be tempted to admire the one who says, "I cannot wait for the development of drugs that will wipe out diseases..."

The man who said it is the "chairman of a genomics company." He's in business to make intellectual property out of the tools that would be used to find cures for those diseases and charge millions of dollars for their use.

Still, I hope he gets his wish.

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