Time is money. A phrase coined by Benjamin Franklin detailing the many types of opportunity costs, one of which, is time.
This cute little phrase is dogma for many, especially those who are in the “real world” and find it necessary to manage their time as closely as many manage finances. The amount of time you input at your day job directly corresponds to how much you get paid.
Time is money.
Although this phrase may be applicable in many circumstances, a lot of people these days extrapolate it for their everyday lives. For example, I have a friend who takes her time investments seriously. She believes that the amount of time she invests into something, such as a romantic relationship or her major, the more time she SHOULD invest in order to make it work. So that the time spent already isn’t wasted.
While this is a noble and consistent goal, we forget sometimes that humans are inconsistent creatures. We are prone to change, sometimes drastic and sometimes manageable. But it’s important to acknowledge this change of desire when it presents itself.
It is never too late to change your current life in order to pursue one that more accurately reflects your values and beliefs. I know that I’m only 20. What do I know of the world, right? Well, I think that many people now need a reminder of the young enthusiasm we are all guilty of in youth. A reminder of the flexibility of life and that you don’t want to spend the rest of your life just surviving.
This same friend has been pursuing a pre-med track since she was in junior high. In college, she tackled a Biochemistry degree as well as an English one and is currently in the second semester of her junior year.
Breaks from school are funny things. When at university, there is so much going on that you are unable to sit back and reassess if what you’re doing corresponds with your long-term goals. The university system also makes it difficult to change things when you realize that you’re getting off-track. Students end up just trying to finish the semester with good grades, regardless of whether or not they enjoy the class. During break, however, all those reevaluations that you keeping putting off come rushing back. You have time to think. Research. Realize.
Because she had been on the pre-med track for 2.5 years in college and because she grew up with the assumption that she would become a doctor, she was terrified. Understandably. No one likes hearing that what you’ve spent doing the past 2.5 years was a waste of time. Why not just continue because that’s what you’re all set up to do anyways? The path is clear, all you have to do is keep following it.
Let me put it into perspective. 2.5 years out of a possible 80 years is miniscule. Committing yourself to something you already think might not be for you is not a good idea. You’ve already spent 2.5 years getting to this point. Don’t let it be for nothing. Better 2.5 years than the next 50-some years spent half-heartedly going after something that is NOT your dream.
Many people also think that going to med school is the harder of two options. It’s not. It’s actually the easier track. When going to med school, there will only be small forks in your road; the process in general follows a flowchart. Choosing something else, however, something you’re truly passionate about is more difficult. For her, it is a path that requires her brain to hardwire itself in a whole other way.
Once you break free from the constraints of your previous time investment, you’ll see that it leads to a world of so many more options. The world is literally your oyster. It’s hard to explain to someone that hasn’t yet made a decision like that yet. One that admits your previous self was on the wrong path. One that turns your world upside-down.
It’s both terrifying and exhilarating.
The world is changing. There are more careers out there than you can name, even more that you’ve never heard. Don’t label yourself before you try the unknown path. Don’t constrict yourself to a mere occupation. It’s not going to be easy.
Whereas you followed a well-worn path before, knowing which life landmarks you’d want to check off by a certain age, this one gives you a near-sighted lens to look through. It’s like walking through a dense fog and you can only see 5 feet in front of you. Many people balk at this, wanting desperately to know if they’re heading for a cliff. Few others embrace it.
Uncertainty is life. No one has ever been able to fast forward a few years to peek at where they’re currently headed with their path. But they all move forward anyways.
Learn to live in the moment. Are you doing what makes you happy NOW? If not, change it. Don’t worry about what you’ve done in the past—you can’t see behind you in this fog either. Chase your dreams.