No. You don’t have time. (3 of 3)
Not too long ago I was riding in the car with a friend who impatiently tried to nudge the car ahead of her when the traffic light had just changed and proclaimed, “Hey, the light’s not getting any greener. What are you waiting for?”
Similarly, Incubus lyrics suggest we are waiting for “A Certain Shade of Green.”
My last two posts have been about change and discuss what may be holding us back. I’d like to take a few moments to focus on what a dear friend said to me recently, when in passing I impressed upon her that I had time to do something I wanted in life. She pulled me aside. Having lost her husband of 50 years, Ilse made herself perfectly clear. “No. You don’t have time” was her response. Within seconds I’d realized the magnitude of her statement. She’s right. None of us have time. She thought she’d have the rest of her life with her loving husband. Unfortunately, life isn’t a sure thing for any of us. Now is the time to do the thing we hanker to do. “Now, now, now. . .” I can almost hear the opening scene to Shakespeare’s Richard III. Obviously, the context is different; nonetheless, he began to take action for the changes he wanted make. I do not suggest we pine for greed or power. But what about that trip to Europe you’ve been wanting to take? How about that new business? Taking care of those pesky, extra few pounds? The thing you desire most that you’ve been putting off for one reason or another.
Sound familiar? We all go through it. The desire to be or do that thing just outside our reach. What are you waiting for? Certainly, you’re not waiting for permission. We talked about that last time. Are you waiting to be thin enough or have money enough or be good enough? Nonsense. You ought to do what you desire. You’ll find a way. Don’t provide excuses, more reasons to remain in your burning desires. Plan the steps it will take to bring on that trip, that new job or business, a slimmer you.
I understand changes aren’t easy. The reality is, some changes take a while to come to fruition; but even so, those steps will help you feel better as you move through your days knowing you’re on your way to having what you want. You might even become healthier performing the steps because you’ll move in the right direction toward your goals. Imagine the relief of paying off a credit card and saving for that trip. What a load off! Tiny steps to get over the mountain. In the meantime, follow the old cliche and take time to stop to smell the roses. This life is your journey. It’s all yours. Plan it as if you would your vacation. Remember though, there are no guarantees. The upside is while you aim for your goals, happiness seems to catch up to you prior to reaching those heights. No action keeps you where you are: self loathing and sitting with fears that you might not succeed.
Lucille Ball once said, “I’d rather regret the things I’ve done in life than regret the things I didn’t do.”
We ought to live on the edge of something we are about to create than repeat the same patterns to exhaustion.
I used to study ant behavior. One of the changes I like to do is to mix up my daily drive. Taking a different route helps to eliminate the etched trails we create on our roadways. Imagine what aliens, if they exist, would notice about our patterns. They’re not very creative. I’d surmise they’d think we have no purpose or clue what else to do. Of course the concept is silly; however, it makes sense to make changes and live the life we are meant to live. Funny, my auto-correct just changed my statement to: Live the life we are meant to love. I think I like that better. Love your life. If you don’t, determine what needs to change and take small steps to arrive at your place. Your “Ithaca.”
Here is a poem by Constantine P. Cavafy that may help you realize your journey.
When you set out for Ithaka
ask that your way be long,
full of adventure, full of instruction.
The Laistrygonians and the Cyclops,
angry Poseidon – do not fear them:
such as these you will never find
as long as your thought is lofty, as long as a rare
emotion touch your spirit and your body.
The Laistrygonians and the Cyclops,
angry Poseidon – you will not meet them
unless you carry them in your soul,
unless your soul raise them up before you.
Ask that your way be long.
At many a Summer dawn to enter
with what gratitude, what joy –
ports seen for the first time;
to stop at Phoenician trading centres,
and to buy good merchandise,
mother of pearl and coral, amber and ebony,
and sensuous perfumes of every kind,
sensuous perfumes as lavishly as you can;
to visit many Egyptian cities,
to gather stores of knowledge from the learned.
Have Ithaka always in your mind.
Your arrival there is what you are destined for.
But don’t in the least hurry the journey.
Better it last for years,
so that when you reach the island you are old,
rich with all you have gained on the way,
not expecting Ithaka to give you wealth.
Ithaka gave you a splendid journey.
Without her you would not have set out.
She hasn’t anything else to give you.
And if you find her poor, Ithaka hasn’t deceived you.
So wise you have become, of such experience,
that already you’ll have understood what these Ithakas mean.
Constantine P. Cavafy
Carpe diem! Seize the day!