While You Prepare for Life, Life Passes You By
There's always another promotion on the horizon, a new skill to improve, and an obligation to fulfil. But what happens to all those things you really want to spend your time on?
People always say that life doesn’t come with an instruction manual. However, most of us end up sticking to a step-by-step plan that dictates every decision we make. Without even realizing it, we spend a lot of our precious time trying to accomplish one goal after another. Meanwhile, our lives pass right before our very eyes.
In most cases, the life plan we set for ourselves isn’t even one of our own making. All too often, we walk the path that others believe is the road to success and happiness. We forget that, as American psychologist Martin Seligman once said, each of us is the architect of our own happiness.
We all want to be successful, have good opportunities, find emotional and financial stability, and generally lead a prosperous life. We all know that it won’t be easy, which is why we try to prepare ourselves for anything life may throw at us.
Parents try to prepare their children from a very early age, in an effort to ensure that they have all the necessary tools and skills for the future. They try to choose the best schools, and make an effort to enroll their little ones in a wide array of extracurricular activities. Foreign languages, basketball, chess, swimming, piano… Every little thing is important. Every effort is necessary if you want to score extra credit in the school of life.
As we grow up, we strive to get the best grades, get into the most prestigious universities, and even pursue the most sought-after masters and postgraduate degrees. We sacrifice friendships, sleep, and our free time to study for exams that may help to secure us a good salary in the future.
We never hesitate to work overtime in a job we hate, deprive ourselves of a weekend away, or buy new clothes out of fear of what might happen. Whenever we consider enjoying the present, our future seems to be calling out to us, demanding one last sacrifice. There’s always one more task on our to-do list. But as we focus on tomorrow, life passes us by.
As we prepare for life, it passes us by. While our children run from one activity to another, they’re missing out on time that could be spent playing, exploring, discovering, and imagining. In addition, several authors have warned that the future will demand more creative and curious human beings.
While you study tirelessly late into the night, opportunities to dance, laugh, meet new people, and expand your horizons pass you by. While you spend all your time working in a job that makes you miserable, your children are growing and changing. Opportunities to pursue your hobbies, spend time with your family and friends, and travel and see the world… All of them are slipping away before your eyes.
How will you know when you’ve reached your goal? At what point will you decide that you’re prepared to start living your life? By then, that trip you dreamed of may no longer be possible, the clothes you wanted might have gone out of style, and your children will be adults.
How old are you right now? Whatever your answer, you’ll never be younger than you are now. You’ll never have more energy than you have now. Life is happening right this second, all around you, even as you read this article. Are you happy with the way you’ve spent your time today?
Obviously, we can’t just drop all our responsibilities and dedicate our lives to having fun 24/7. We need to train, work, and plan for the future. On many occasions, we can’t choose what we do with our time. However, we can try to find a healthy middle ground.
In modern society, only the things that drive productivity are considered necessary. But as human beings, it’s essential for us to have good mental and emotional health. We need to rest, talk, love, laugh, create, and achieve our goals. Although these activities might not make us any money, they’re essential. When the fantastic adventure that is life comes to an end, the experiences you had will be worth far more than the money in your bank account. What better investment is there?
If you’re going to follow a life plan, make sure it’s your own, designed by you, for you. Train yourself to enjoy life, be more curious, and learn more about the things that interest you. Try to find a job that enriches you personally in some way. Set aside time in your day to paint, sing, read, play with your children, or take a walk. Life passes by every day. So enjoy it!