I sat in the car with my mom the other day, as we laughed and shared stories about our weeks. These moments always start out as a light-hearted conversation, yet somehow always land on topics slightly more serious, the kinds that keep you lying awake at night just wondering if maybe it’s all wrong. And of course, just like all other long car rides on beautiful sunny days, the smiles began to fade as we approached a topic that felt more terrifying then funny.
“I don’t know,” my mom sighed, “I am 52 years old, and there’s just not that much time left for this all to work itself out.”
Normally, my first instinct is to validate someone’s concerns, but this felt different. Because the absence of time was something I felt as well. I am only 21 years old but cannot escape this feeling of urgency. Time is slipping away.
“We all act like we are running out of time, but if we aren’t?” I asked.
We both sat with it for a minute, before she replied with, “That’s true.”
We all grow up with this sense of panic. We must accomplish this by x years old, or just do this by y years old. Society, as well as we, set so many deadlines. But what if there isn’t any?
Despite what everyone is preaching, you have time to figure it out. You have time to fall in and out of love. You have time to find your dream career, lose it, then find something better. You have time to buy that house or get that degree. You have time to grow into the best version of yourself.
Something I remind myself often, is that the concept of what is a long time is often made up. For example, let’s say your child just turns 10. From the time of birth to their 10th birthday, would you ever expect them to evolve into a fully grown adult, capable of knowing exactly who they are, what they want out of life, and how to achieve it? I highly doubt you would, because 10 years is not a lot of time.
Let’s say at 30 years old, you finally finished your degree and began settling into a career that feels right. Now, it is a decade later and you are 40. Maybe you are in a similar place as you were 10 years ago. So, you begin beating yourself up. But instead of beating yourself up, I encourage you to think of that little ten-year-old. In the grand scheme of life, ten years is not that long. It takes time to find your footing, who you are in that setting, and how to excel. And the truth is, even if you were to wake up and change it all tomorrow, it would be okay.
Because at the end of the day, we all still have time.