With so many things in life we find ourselves waiting until the right time. Dustin and I did this with marriage, kids, changing jobs, and buying a home. We didn’t get married for 7 years, and it was another 5 years until we got pregnant. Yes, we were a little slow to begin with but something in us wanted that timing to be just right. We desired to be financially set so that we could feel secure in our decision making. We wanted everything so perfect. Years ticked by and that point of perfection never arrived. There comes a time when you just need to leap.
Leaping is terrifying and it goes against everything in my core. I need to feel secure, safe and be confident that my decisions are not reckless or jeopardizing the life that I’ve worked hard for. What a fabulous excuse to not progress. I was living a life of fear. That’s really what it came down to. I was scared that we’d make the wrong move, that we weren’t prepared enough, or that we had overlooked something. Fear is paralyzing but so is waiting for the right time.
This last year the universe has gifted me with fresh perspective. I have been devastated by the loss of several friends and family members. Their ages ranged from 17 to 58. Not a single one of them had what we would call a “full life”, or living well into retirement age. I’m not implying that their lives weren’t full. They were full of love and laughter. They made immense impacts on those around them. These amazing people were just taken way too young.
I gained a lot from experiencing these losses. One lesson that I’ve often heard before but never really digested is; make every day matter. It’s really simple, isn’t it? Every day counts. That doesn’t really sink in though and it gets lost in a barrage of chores and mundane daily tasks.
Here are some numbers for you to put those days in perspective:
27,275 – The number of days in the average US citizen’s life. I wonder if you’re like me and look at that number and think, “ummmm….aren’t we missing a few zeros? Are you sure that is it?” Yes, the life expectancy for a person in the US is 75 years old.
Let’s break it down further.
20,805 – Number of days from 18 years old until 75 years old. We might as well take out all of the days from 18 and before. Maybe you were a super ambitious 13 year old and conquered your dreams early, but I think many of used that time to be kids.
13,870 – Number of days left for me if I were to live until 75 years old. Eeek! That seems like too few. I’m 37 right now and that number is just glaring at me.
10,950 – Number of days until my retirement.
7,800 – Number of days I will spend working until retirement (weekdays).
3,150 – Number of weekend days I have left until retirement.
When you look at that, how does it make you feel? Are you living your life intentionally? Are you waiting for retirement to pursue your dreams? And what if you get to retirement and you start questioning if you’re too old to start something new?
I was of the mindset that I would give myself permission to live my life to the fullest when I retired. Isn’t that what most people do? Work the majority of their life, save a bunch of money, and THEN live the life that they dream.
What was stopping me from doing this right now?
FEAR. EXCUSES. WAITING FOR THE RIGHT TIME.
If you’re like me you have a list of reasons why you can’t start today. The reasons and excuses will always be there, but the days won’t. That’s what they mean by “make the days count”. I’ve only got 13,870 days left (give or take a few). I’m done filling those days with people, jobs, and tasks that are not filling my cup. I’m launching my life and I’m no longer making excusing or waiting for the right time.
My life coach is consistently reminding me of the phrase, “progress over perfection”. This seems to have been my theme for the year. My dreams changed, my jobs changed, my life changed. Was it perfect? Hell no! Did I make progress? Hell yes! That is truly because I gave up on the idea of perfection. I gave up on it being the right time and I just trusted that each step would guide me. I believed that any discomfort and fear that I faced would stretch me and provide me with an opportunity for growth. I began seeing clearly that every day really did matter. I couldn’t wipe out entire work weeks of my life…those needed to be fulfilling too. I couldn’t wait for retirement to travel and adventure – what if that time never came? I need to act now. I need to fill each day with things, people, experiences that feed my soul and progress my life.
My new mantra is going to be, “Right now is the right time”. It’s either one day or day one.