We’ve all done it…put off doing things we really wanted to do, truly needed to do, and even dreamed of doing. From little things like having a conversation, making a call, writing a letter… to bigger things like going for a degree, starting a business, taking a relationship to the next level, applying for a dream job…for the same reasons: it’s not the right time, I’m too busy, I don’t have enough money, I don’t have enough information, knowledge or talent…and so on.
To reassure ourselves that the postponement is only temporary, we usually imagine a set of circumstances in the future that will allow for us to take action…and with the best of intentions, we solemnly commit to taking action when those circumstances finally arrive: I’ll do so-and-so ‘when’.
The problem is that these ‘when-s’ tend to become a habit, and once we pass by enough of them in our journey, we come to realize that they never magically transform into ‘now-s’. We are the only ones who wield that kind of magic…only we can choose to use the coin of ‘now’ we always carry in our pockets.
Life doesn’t wait for us to be ready to act. As we’ve all noticed, it has a tendency to keep moving forward regardless of what’s going on in our respective bubbles. And the truth isn’t all that kind: time runs out for all of us, and it doesn’t stop to listen to our reasons and excuses…be they legitimate or not.
Although we are right to question the timing of our actions, and be concerned about the availability of resources needed to sustain them, avoiding the habit of putting off important things should be our top priority. As Theodore Roosevelt wisely suggested: “Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.” Just because we may not be in a position to take immediate action that reflects the fullest extent of our intentions doesn’t mean we’re compromising our ultimate goal…or that we can’t take some action…take that first step, however small…and then another, and another. Because they do tend to add up.
One of the harshest lesson we can learn is that we don’t always get second chances in life. And so we absolutely must try and do as many of the little things and big things that are important to us, no matter what the circumstances. Reaching out to a loved one with an apology, or simply to show affection…making a move in our professional life towards a more rewarding job…starting to budget for that small business we’ve always wanted to have…taking a chance with someone we’re in love with…starting to plan that trip we’ve always wanted to take…whatever it is that is important to each of us, we owe it to ourselves to act…and always keep in mind that there is no ‘when’…there is only ‘now’.