When we are young, we compare ourselves to the great people we would like to be. It is a game that we play growing up. “You can be so and so, and I’ll be the hero.” When we get older, we get sent on different trajectories; trying to jump out of these would be life changing. There is too much to lose. It would be like needing to start all over again and the thought of doing this is horrifying. This thought stays with us as we get older. We have less time and we aren’t who we used to be, not that we knew a heck of a lot about anything back then.
Still, I am surprised when I hear young people just starting out, talking about their plans. They have good heads on their shoulders and their generation is not mine. They have different ways of getting there. And I know that we have limited time to get where we need to be. We are not who we were when we were 20 and the world is not the same either. This can be exhilarating and depressing. We change with the world and our dreams change as well. Eventually our generation will disappear.
When I think about these things, I have two thoughts. One thought knows that thinking is overrated. Doing what you can in the day is everything. People have bought into the notion of incremental growth, but this is often used to justify inaction or poor results. Reality is too frustrating to acknowledge. We can only fail so often until we tell ourselves we are getting better or we decide to move on to something else. But we know that moving on has a cost, so we stick with what we know, and we pray beyond hope that our invisible striving will one day manifest. My second thought knows that if we set down to do anything, we should do it now. We should not limit ourselves based on who we think we are. I’ve heard countless people say “I wasn’t ready.” But we can get ready in an instant.