Six years ago this month I was sitting in a friend’s living room in our neighborhood talking about nothing. These are friends in their mid-30’s who had two beautiful children, good income, and apparent happiness. Out of the blue the wife said, “I’m planning to start medical school this Fall.”
I just about fell out of my chair. Not because someone would go to medical school – that happens all the time. I was surprised primarily by this seemingly dramatic turn in her life and career as a stay-at-home mom who seemed to have already established the life that she wanted. Besides, most people begin this kind of endeavor a little earlier in life. She went on to explain that she had the grades for it and had always been interested in the health occupations. Good for her!
Then she said something that rang in my ears for the next several weeks. My neighbor’s reasoning was, ” I’m going to look back 8 years from now, and I will have either become a doctor or I won’t. Regardless of what I do in that time, 8 years are going to pass.”
Time will pass…
It marches on. It is relentless in its persistence to see us all to the inevitable. It’s the greatest asset we possess, and yet we can’t save it, borrow it, store it, or reclaim it. But we sure can waste it.
I had been considering returning to school myself for a second graduate degree at the time. I had my eye on earning a Ph.D. in Leadership & Organizational Change. Besides, my current employer was offering employees a very rich reimbursement program. I began repeating to myself, “Three or four years are going to pass, Todd. You will look back at that span and will have either structured the priorities in your life to accomplish this goal or you won’t. (Insert echo: “You won’t…you won’t…you won’t.”)
And so, I never looked back.
Oh, sure there were moments when I wondered whether I had lost my mind. The sheer volume of research and writing that was required, compounded by the need to be a half-way present husband and father of three, was a balancing act I hadn’t fully anticipated. And in the middle of it all we relocated half-way across the country to begin a new chapter in my career. Weekly planning saved my life. Scheduling my “Big Rocks” before the whirlwind of each week began was my life line. It was hard, hard work.
What about about you? What life goals are fading at the bottom of your “bucket list,” obscured by the urgency of the day-to-day? When you look back three, five, or ten years from now, what will you have accomplished that you haven’t yet begun? Today, draw a line in the sand. Write that single, most important goal down. Share it with someone who will hold your feet to the fire. Prioritize. Then execute it with abandon!
Don’t let time pass you by.
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