One question has been on my mind for some time. Especially when I’m on a train or a bus, this question props itself up like a placard at a presidential convention. This question stares at me from the faces of the people I meet on platforms and streets. This question winks at me every morning I look myself in the mirror. This question is:
From this day forward, in 25 years, will I still be commuting to work?
If the answer is yes, will it be for fun, for enjoyment of a challenge and for sense of achievement, or will it be out of necessity? Will it be for the sake of dispelling boredom, or to pay off the debts? Does it matter what reason, you may add. I believe it does.
Have you asked yourself recently how long will you continue to do what you’re doing? How long until you have paid off your mortgage? How many more leave approvals will you be putting in to take a break from it all, only to return and start it all over again – counting the days until the next holiday or achieving a savings goal. I know we all have to earn our keep. But some of us do it because we have to, while some people do it because they want to. Making changes in our lives is not easy. We all have different goals, histories and ideas of what makes life a good life. A comfortable retirement may be a goal for many of us. Therefore, every one of us will have to answer the above question from our own perspective.
Having embarked on a career change in my 40s, I can say that sitting on two chairs for a while in order to keep your income steady, while your skills and credibility are being established in the new area, is not easy. I recall late eminent business philosopher Jim Rohn proclaiming, “Don’t wish it were easier, wish you were better.” Perhaps without experiencing the hardship, the boredom and the ‘grind’, we could never wish for a change. But, putting such inspiring statements aside, what about reality? How many of us will achieve what we truly want? As Dr Russ Harris, author of ‘The Happiness Trap’, suggests, chasing ‘happiness’ may lock us into a never-ending cycle of dissatisfaction.
Instead of focusing on what I will be doing in 25 years, I am looking at what I am doing today and how that is making me feel. But if in 25 years’ time I remember asking myself at 40 whether I’d still be commuting to work every day, I want to be able to say that I had not waited to retire in order to start writing that book I’ve always wanted to write. I believe that in 25 years from now I will be able to say that for the past 25 years I have been who I wanted to be. I will not wait until I’m 65 to realise that I could have done it all 25 years ago.
What about you?