I Wish I Could Do That

Have you ever told someone about something you had planned, and heard “Oh I wish I could do that” in response? When I hear that, I often respond with “Well, why don’t you?” — especially if the person saying it seems perfectly capable of doing whatever it is I’ve just done. (Which is usually booking tickets for a trip somewhere. Have I mentioned that I love to travel?)

Usually their response involves their lack of money, or some vague comment about how they “just can’t”. And that’s sad, because if they really wanted to do whatever it was we were just talking about, they could.

Being able to do the things you want to do isn’t reserved for the lucky few who seem to magically have the things they want. It’s not magic at all. It’s a matter of prioritizing, and giving yourself permission to live your dreams.

After all, if you’re not at least making a strong effort to live your dreams, what are you living?

Make the changes you need to make, and go for it. If you truly can’t see how it might be possible, ask someone who’s done it. They’ll probably be glad to tell you what all was involved.

You only get one life. Go ahead and make it the one you want.


  • I get “I wish I could do that” alot when mentioning self employment or starting a blog. I usually bring up the fact that all it takes is a ton of time and persistence. They almost always blow me off. It’s frustrating.

  • It doesn’t hurt to try. At least then you can say you did even if it fails. It’s better than making and living with excuses.

  • I think some people (myself included) are interested in the end result, not the journey it takes to get there and that’s why we’ll stay on the side lines wishing. Hopefully, some of us wishers will take the chance and stick with it until we achieve our goals.

  • I wrote a similar post last year except it was “it must be nice.” I pointed out that it was nice but it didn’t just happen. I made a plan and put in the work and made the necessary sacrifices for the plan to come to fruition.

    • Yeah, the “it must be nice” comment is similar. Funny how they never say that “it must be nice” to say no to things or work hard in the journey along the way.

  • SherryH

    I got that from a couple of my classmates when I went back to school a few years ago. “I wish I could just go to school and not have to work, like you do…” “You’re so lucky you can do that!” Well, true, I wasn’t having to balance work and school. But it was down to choices, not luck.

    I didn’t buy a new laptop. I didn’t have a new vehicle. (In fact, if a friend hadn’t let me use his car when our van died, I might have had to drop out.) I didn’t go on a tropical honeymoon. We didn’t go to parties, movies, concerts – rarely even out to eat! I sometimes drove my son to school and then parked at the college and did homework until time for class, in order to save gas money by not driving home and back.

    My classmates made different choices. Were their choices wrong? Of course not. But I think they were wrong to consider that they “couldn’t” go to school without working or that I was “lucky” instead of bound and determined and willing to put in the effort to make it happen.

  • Donna Miller

    They may just be making polite conversation–an implied compliment, as it were.

    • That could be the case, although in the particular situations I was thinking of I don’t think it was. The people really did sound wistful and sad in their wishing.

  • Most people are just scared to make a big life change. Especially when it involves starting over in your career.

  • I agree. Most people are shackled by self-imposed limitations, and I think most of those who are know that they are perfectly capable of doing it, they just know that it takes hard work and sacrifice (for instance, working instead of watching TV). The remaining people are most likely paralyzed by looking at the mountain they have to climb instead of thinking about taking the first steps up the mountain.