Though it comes with responsibilities, make the most of the present, come what may.
They say before you die, you regret the things you did not do more than the things you did. If true, this means most people spend their last days agonizing over lost time and the missed opportunity to accomplish certain things. Most of us fall victim to the false sense of security that we have time. Time to accomplish our goals, time to chase our dreams and time to live.
Recently, I find myself thinking along these lines. Not because I am on my deathbed, rather because I am about to close the “me” chapter of life. You see for the last 15 years since I turned 18, my life has revolved around me. Chasing my dreams, realizing my ambitions, flying across the world whenever possible and most importantly sleeping and waking up whenever I felt like.
This wonderfully narcissistic life is about to come to a screeching halt in the next couple of months. As a first-time parent, my world will completely revolve around a helpless, dependent being. I will no longer be the master of planning my time. I will not be able to sleep or wake up when I want or even go about my simple daily chores without the fear of constant disruption.
The fear of losing such ‘petty’ freedoms might sound ludicrous to some, but it is real nonetheless. The idea of being imprisoned by responsibility towards another for 18 years at least is quite terrifying. For free spirits like myself who have spent the best part of their youth in a self-catered bubble, the idea of losing our free will is not easy to grapple with.
This notion extends beyond the petty ideals. Think about it. How many of us have a dream of accomplishing a certain thing that we always keep off because something more urgent and more responsible took precedent? It could be as simple as treating yourself or as big as climbing the Everest. We always let fate dictate our situation rather than taking the steering wheel and commandeering our own lives.
My husband and I are fortunate to have lived our lives to the fullest in the few years we have had together, but for some reason, it still does not feel like we had enough time to do all we wanted. We had hoped to study more, travel further and invest more than we have. All these goals seem to have moved further down the list now that we are expecting. We already find ourselves dreaming of the retirement age, where we will once again be free of all responsibilities.
However, life is not as deterministic as that. External factors will always influence your life. They will give you yet another excuse not to accomplish your goals, and before you know it, you are already living your life in regret. “I wish I had enough time to… I wish I had taken more time to… I wish I had seized that opportunity…”
I am not guaranteed that my husband and I will reach that golden age of retirement if we put our lives on hold for our children now. The only definite thing we have is that we are alive now and we need to use this time to our full advantage. So what if we have a kid who cries on a 10-hour flight? Many children before him have done the same. Why should we have to dim our passion for travel for anything else? In fact, I believe that sharing our passions and hobbies with our children from a young age will help them in developing their own interests.
Therefore, I have decided to look at the next chapter as another great adventure. A time that I will not put life on hold, rather, let it take shape around my circumstances.