My Greatest Fear is a Life Un-lived.
Who told you you’re going to get 50, 70 or 90 years of life? If you knew you would die at 40, would you approach your life the same way? If you knew you have a disability at 30 or 40 years old, what would you do differently? You see, it’s my belief that far too many of us approach life like it is a destination rather than a journey.
I know we’re in the era of ‘Grind, grind, grind, live. then die.‘, but I have never really bought into the idea. As a child growing up, I constantly felt like I was waiting. If we’re being transparent here, I still feel that way. Doing what I was supposed to do, knowing there was more to life and wanting to experience it, but feeling like the goal post was perpetually being moved. Ambition will do that. Goals and dreams just out of reach, and by the time you grasp your finger around it, you are so busy looking at the next goal post, you never really savor it.
So, I made the conscious decision early on to just to live. I’m not quite on the YOLO train, but to just… live. My sequence looks more like ‘Grind, live, grind, live, grind, live. then die.‘ That may be my plan, but I am also very aware that dying can end up anywhere in that mix, but I would feel better having lived some life, because try as we might, we can’t plan the whole shebang.
To me, constantly working your youth away sounds like, passing through a season in your life in a haze trying to achieve financial stability (something not promised and without a time limit), or something else that is tangible so that you can live your best life at an age not promised to you. I’m not saying it’s not okay if you want to do that, I just think that the idea that such a method should be one everyone aspires to is… pardon my French, a crock of shit. We can miss so much being tunnel sighted.
When I planned my life, I was going to go to college and get a degree in three years. Then, I was going to migrate, work for two years and have a child in two years. You see, in my plan, baby number one was supposed to come along at about 23 or 24 years old. There wasn’t even a specific plan for a husband in there. He (the potential husband) could be there or not. I was going to be a career driven, independent woman.
But life, had other ideas. For example, I wasn’t able to go straight to college after high school. I sat out a year. Then, that degree that I was supposed to do in three years, took me five instead. My marriage certificate is older than my degree. Can you imagine? I went to college and got a whole husband before I graduated. That, baby that I wanted at 23 or 24, didn’t come until late twenties. And even though I had a career plan, I’d be lying if I said they were being my own boss and having a business.
I try to go on vacation often enough to enjoy the hard work. To enjoy the immaterial things that make life worth living, like family. Like watching my daughter grow, and simply be whatever age she is. To reflect and be grateful that not so long ago, I was a starving student, but now I’m not. The bad things I thought wouldn’t go away, did. Things I prayed and worked to change actually changing.
The point is that life is a journey, and even the most carefully laid plans can be disrupted. Not always in bad ways, but sometimes, by living, these plans change, or are amended. Maybe it’s just the method, or new experiences that influence ambitions.
It’s okay to make a journey out of it. It’s okay to appreciate and admire the green hills and valleys on the country bus to success, and, it’s okay to stop at the scenic spots on the way there. Stop and breathe, and structure in having a life, while making a life for yourself.