Wednesday, 12 June 2013

No time to lose

Are you still putting off doing the things that you're passionate about? Time could be running out.

By Nila Sweeney

You’ve dreamed about visiting Norway to see the Northern Lights. You've always wanted to learn the tango and speak French. You've been thinking about quitting your job to start your own business.

Yet when push comes to shove, you get cold feet. You talk yourself out of it before you can say go!

You rationalise that there will plenty of time to pursue all these things. For the time being you need to make more money. You need to stick with your day job so you can save for that dream house or car.

So you go on living the same old life, doing the same thing, day after day, year after year. 

Occasionally, you notice a nagging feeling that perhaps there’s more to life than this. Then you look at where you are now. You’re comfortable. Why rock the boat? Why change anything now? So you revert back to living in autopilot. Possibly a mediocre life.

Then a big jolt. Someone you know has just passed away.

There’s nothing like death to shake you back into reality.

Like today, when I found out that one of my college friends has passed away. I simply couldn’t get around the fact that she’s gone. How did this happen? When did people in my generation start dropping dead? 

I guess I've been living under the false security that we’ll live a long life and that dying wasn't an option.

I was stunned at first and then I panicked. I mean if she died that young, then it could be my turn any day now.

I know it’s irrational to think that people should only die when they reach a certain age, but how often do you think about your own mortality? Exactly. Why would you even think of such a morbid thing, right?

The reality is we’ll never know when the time comes. And most of us don’t want to know about it anyway because we don’t want to face the reality of our own demise. It’s too horrifying. It’s such a dampener.

But just because we don’t want to face it doesn’t make it go away. By pretending it’s not there, we go on with our lives as if we’re going to live forever. We make plans, we party like it's 1999 and we can’t get no satisfaction (ok that’s really cheesy) as we work like crazy to build security around finances and our career. As if we’re absolutely certain we’re going to live long enough to enjoy the fruits of our labour.

But what happens if you don’t get to the end of the line? No one can predict how and when one person expires from this world. You hear it every day: people who are young, healthy, rich, beautiful, famous, poor or old people who are dying of various causes. So what makes us immune to this eventuality? When it comes to death, there’s nowhere to hide.

Stop putting your life on hold
It’s good to make plans and prepare for the future. This would be the responsible and sensible thing to do. However, it’s important not to get fixated by the end game that you put your life on hold for the time being.

We only get 24 hours a day, 365 days a year and if we’re lucky to live to a normal lifespan, we might live till we’re 80. You might think you’ve got all the time left in the world that you put off doing what you love. The truth is you may not have.

Death does not discriminate. When your time comes, ready or not, you will have to go and leave this world.

In your death bed, can you honestly say you’re glad that you held off living a full on life or you wished you’ve done more of the things you thought you’d have more time to do?

Next time you find yourself deciding whether to do something that’s exciting and scary now or leave it for another day; I’d challenge you to do it right away. You may not have a second chance.

That phone call to your mother and father that you’ve been meaning to make? Make it now. Tell your love ones how much they mean to you. Hug them; hold them close to your heart. Enjoy this moment while you can.

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