The Billboard That Stopped Me In My Tracks
As adults we are constantly bombarded with advertisements in our everyday life. From TV, to billboards, to buses, social media and the list goes on and on. To be honest sometimes I appreciate the algorithms of social media advertising. If I've got my eye on a new vacuum and I've googled, goodness knows Facebook will curate some solid suggestions.
Typically advertising doesn't really bother me. Then I saw a billboard that stopped me in my tracks. It was advertised in front of a bank and said "Imagine 30 Years To Do What You Love".
Now I didn't repost the image simply as I didn't want to point fingers. In fairness I get it. This was meant to encourage people to plan their retirement. Live freely in their golden years without financial burden. Go on trips, explore the world, laugh with loved ones...
I find a problem with this. "Imagine 30 years to do what you love?" I'm sorry, but what happened to creating an entire lifetime of doing things that you love.
In my early twenties I worked on cruise ships. One of my first contracts consisted of 28 day circumnavigations around Australia. As you can imagine the demographic onboard was fairly seasoned. For many this trip was a once in a lifetime opportunity and something they had always dreamed about. That being said many shared that they didn't get the same enjoyment they had imagined. I was onboard for 6 months and I promise you each cruise I would have dozens of guests that I would share candid conversations with. And person after person would express the same sentiment...I wish I did this when I was younger.
For some reason there are many of us that get this mindset that our younger years are something we can sacrifice and squander. I know many people that work jobs that don't fulfill them. They live their entire life for weekends and their three weeks of vacation in a year. They bring their work home each night. They live with stress and obligation.
Maybe those people will set themselves up for an amazing retirement and will get those '30 years to do what they love'. But maybe not. Time is our most precious gift, however it comes with conditions. One of the biggest being that every single one of us is unaware of when our time is up.
Not to be morbid, but if your time was up right now would you be happy with the story you wrote? I'm not saying that a good story is chapter after chapter of everything being picture perfect. We all know that great novels consist of plot twists and obstacles. However, they also typically involve adventure, lessons learned and epic love stories.
If you answered No...you are not happy with the story you have written...then please. Change.
This is the beauty. We can change the course of our story at any time, but as the main character of your life it is solely up to you. Your happiness is up to you. Where you take your plot twists is up to you.
So please...be responsible and save for that retirement as the billboard suggested.
However, don't wait 30 years to do what you love.
I lost my Dad when I was 17 and he was a young 49. He always had this hanging in his office. I'm not a collector of old memories, but this was worth keeping and I try to live my life as a constant reminder that each year, each day, each hour, each minute, each second...is a precious gift.
"The clock of life is wound but once and no man has the power. To tell just when that hand will stop at late or early hour. This is the only time you own. Live, love, toil with a will. Place no faith in to tomorrow for the clock may then be still."- Anonymous