A few weeks ago, I got together with a group of friends to go and see a play. I hadn’t seen a couple of my companions for two or three years. One of them surprised me by pulling up outside our agreed-upon meeting place riding on a bright red motorcycle. When I told her that I had no idea she rode a motorbike, she informed me that she had first decided to get her licence nearly thirty years earlier, but for one reason or another had never gotten around to it. She also told me that, as soon as she got her licence and bought a motorbike from a friend of her son’s, she felt as though she had a new lease on life. Someone else at the table that evening asked her if she regretted not having done it sooner, to which she replied, “Oh no, not really. I knew it would happen some day, and now the time is right.”
In the last little while, I have been thinking about this encounter and what it means. It seems that many of the dreams we have tend to go by the wayside if they are not realized in a timely manner. In business seminars and in self-help books, we are told to always make sure our goals are SMART (i.e., specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and timely). Very often in life, we are told that it is important to “get things done,” and that to talk about hopes of achieving things without acting upon them is a sign of weakness and procrastination.
What if we looked at it a different way, though? What if we approached our lives with the confidence that everything we are meant to experience and achieve will happen in its own good time? What if we just trusted in ourselves and believed that we will make things happen when they are meant to happen? Would this be a fatalistic attitude? Would it be just another rationalization for letting long-term dreams slide away? There is that danger, I suppose. But I also wonder if we wouldn’t be freeing ourselves from a sort of self-tyranny, that being the defeatist belief that, just because things haven’t happened on a set, arbitrary schedule, that they never will happen. Perhaps, with a more positive outlook, we might not be so quick to write off our goals. Perhaps, instead we would look at them as lifelong prospects — achievable and attainable when the time is right.